an agreement between E.W. Scripps and his company, Journal
Communications Chairman and CEO Steve Smith said the
“transaction helps ensure the future success of local news
operations - print, broadcast and digital - across the nation.”
in February about a possible merger of the two large media
companies, Smith said via email Thursday.
Scripps and had looked upon the company for a long time with a
great deal of admiration,” he said. “Our cultures are very
similar. Over the last few months it became clear that this was
a very natural fit.”
As part of the
deal, E.W. Scripps and Journal Communications will merge their
broadcast operations while spinning off their newspapers into a
new company called Journal Media Group, which will be
headquartered in Milwaukee, according to the announcement made
Wednesday. The E.W. Scripps Company headquarters will remain in
Cincinnati and the company will own and operate television and
radio stations serving 27 markets in the country, making it the
fifth-largest independent TV group in the country.
is contingent upon the approval of each companies’ shareholders.
It is anticipated to become complete in 2015.
New group to
own four Southern newspapers
combining the two companies’ newspapers, Journal Media Group
will have penetration in 14 markets across the United States and
will own the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee, The
Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., the Standard Times in San
Angelo, Texas, and Naples Daily News in Florida.
the announcement, the Journal Media Group is anticipated to have
annual revenue of more than $500 million and approximately 3,600
employees. The Journal Sentinel will be the new Journal Media
Group’s flagship newspaper, Smith said.
transaction is an important milestone for Journal Communications
and its shareholders,” Smith said in the email. “The transaction
will realign both Journal and Scripps and allow each - Scripps
and the new Journal Media Group - to focus all of its efforts on
either broadcasting or publishing, increasing its ability to
innovate and compete in its industry.”
The deal is
also anticipated to create potential value for both companies’
shareholders, he said.
There will be
a change in leadership at the companies upon the merger. Rich
Boehne will remain as chairman, president and CEO of E.W.
Scripps, but Smith will no longer be CEO of the new Journal
Media Group, being replaced by Tim Stautberg from Scripps,
according to Journal Communications’ website. Smith will be
WTMJ radio, TV
stations will join Scripps
TMJ4 and 620
WTMJ will become part of the E.W. Scripps company and will join
33 other TV stations and 34 radio stations for a projected
combined revenue of $815 million to $830 million, according to
Scripps is excited about re-entering the radio business with
Journal Communications’ radio stations, including 620 WTMJ and
the The Lake FM.
“As a leading
product of 620 WTMJ, Right Wisconsin will continue to be a
popular platform for Wisconsin’s conservative voices and
discussion. We fully expect all of our local TV, radio and
affiliated digital brands to continue to serve their audiences
and have the same great commitment to their local communities
when the stations become part of Scripps after the closing of
the transaction,” Smith said in his email.
benefits for Journal Media Group include management focus on
operating core newspaper business, operational efficiencies, a
strong balance sheet with no debt and an ability to grow through
accretive and opportunistic acquisitions, according to the
The merger of
the broadcast components of Journal Communications and E.W.
Scripps will allow the company to reach consumers in eight
presidential battleground states, including Michigan, Arizona,
Ohio and Florida, according to the announcement.
transition, Smith said the current Journal Communication brands
will continue to “operate as they do today.”
that viewers, readers and listeners in their local markets will
still be able to tune into and read all of the content available
to them through their favorite local publications, TV channels
and radio stations, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
620WTMJ, TODAY’S TMJ4, The Lake FM and all of our great
community publications and digital products,” he said.
not be reached by phone Thursday, but in a statement he also
commented on the future of the merged companies.
combinations even more appealing are the rich histories of these
two organizations, both driven by a deep commitment to public
service through enterprise journalism. For shareholders, this
deal should unlock significant value as both companies gain
efficiency, scale and more focus on the industry dynamics unique
to these businesses,” he said.