GateHouse Media lets the local news flow freely. The company is a leading community newspaper publisher with more than 435 publications in about 20 states. Its portfolio includes roughly 80 daily newspapers, along with many more weeklies and shoppers that reach about 10 million readers. GateHouse generates revenue primarily through advertising; its papers serve ads from almost 300,000 business advertisers. In conjunction with its print publications, the company operates more than 585 websites. GateHouse also produces a half dozen yellow page directories and it offers commercial printing services. Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group owns about 40% of the company.
GateHouse was formed in 1997 as Liberty Group Publishing to buy about 160 publications from newspaper giant Hollinger International (later Sun-Times Media Group). It went public in 2006, changing its name in the process.
GateHouse has historically grown through a steady diet of acquisitions. With capital from its IPO, GateHouse purchased nine papers in Illinois and Ohio from The Copley Press for $380 million in 2007 and later that year acquired four dailies from Gannett for $410 million.
Later acquisitions included a group of papers in eight states from Morris Publishing (a unit of Morris Communications) for $115 million, SureWest Directories from SureWest Communications for about $110 million, and the Messenger Post newspapers of northern New York.
The downturn in the economy and the decline of the newspaper industry have forced the company to concentrate mostly on cutting costs, streamlining operations, and converting to a more multimedia company. GateHouse also relies on the loyalty of readers interested in local news, as about 85% of its newspapers have been around for more than 100 years. – less