Report: Gannett said to have acquired The Record, New Jersey’s second largest daily
The publisher of USA Today, and the pursuer of Tribune Publishing, has yet to confirm the report from New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly
The media reporter for the New York Post, Keith Kelly, who gets more than his fair share of media news scoops, is reporting that Gannett is acquiring the Bergen County Record. So far, at least, Gannett is not confirming the news (but it is early, they tend to start and end the day with their releases).
The paper serves the area of New Jersey that I associate with Rudy Van Gelder, the great jazz recording engineer who worked by day as an optometrist, and by night in his home recording studio in Hackensack (and later Englewood Cliffs).
Like most newspapers, The Record, as it is known, has seen its circulation slide in the past decade – from just over 200K on Sundays to around 175K in its last audit (which, by the way, is from December 2014). Despite that, it remains the second largest paper in the state, behind the Star-Ledger in Newark.
Gannett has been fairly quiet in the past week, its effort to get Tribune Publishing to negotiate a sale having failed. But it is likely biding its time. Tribune will report earnings the first week of August (I’m guessing) and another bad report may well spur investors to once again demand that the company, which will soon to be called tronc, to reconsider a sale.
Or maybe not. TPUB stock is hanging in there, trading at above $13.70, meaning that any shareholders who want out, well, now’s the time.
Meanwhile, Tribune announced that it had added former Rep. David Dreier to its board of directors. Dreier was one of the shrinking number of Republican representatives sent to Congress from California – and Tribune has always been a Republican newspaper company headquartered in a blue state. (I’m one of the very few media observers that has contended right from the beginning that Michael Ferro’s involvement with Tribune Publishing is really about politics, not publishing.)
Update: For the record, Kelly’s report has still not been confirmed by Gannett by noon on Friday.