New Media Investment Group bought Halifax Media Group, owner of the Sarasota Herald Tribune, for $280 million late last month. New Media is one of the largest powerhouses of locally-based print and online media in the U.S. Its database includes 450 publications and more than 370 websites, reaching 14 million people weekly. Halifax had just recently purchased the Herald and a majority of its current publications, which include The Gainesville Sun, The Daytona Beach News-Journal and The Gaston Gazette, in 2011 for $143 million.
“This is a very exciting day for our company,” President and CEO of New Media Michael E. Reed said. “Halifax Media is one of the premier, locally oriented media companies in the United States whose business fits extremely well within New Media. The acquisition further diversifies New Media’s business from both a geographic and customer standpoint. These markets also present a tremendous opportunity for New Media to expand its digital businesses, Propel and BestRide, as these markets expand our footprint of small and mid-size businesses we will be able to reach.”
Buyouts by large media conglomerates have been the focus of criticism in the past. Critics believe that these companies overwhelm smaller news outlets and push their companies to favor sensationalized articles over hard news articles. Rather than circulating indepently, publications represent the media group and must align with their interests. Conversely, media conglomerates are one of the factors keeping print publications alive.
“It has been an honor to lead such a talented group of employees. Their dedication to excellence has helped us build an extraordinary company,” Halifax CEO Michael Redding said. “New Media is acquiring a company that has amazing employees, premier products, and businesses located in some of the best markets in the Southeast.”
Information: www.finance.yahoo.com, www.heraldtribune.com, www.halifaxmediagroup.com, www.newmediainv.com, www.globalissues.org