Corporate ownership of KNS, CA changing

CINCINNATI – The E.W. Scripps Co. will say goodbye to newspapers, including the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and hello to radio in a merger and spinoff transaction with the parent company of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper.

Further from the report appearing in the News Sentinel

The deal calls for Milwaukee-based Journal Communications Inc. to merge its 13 television stations and 35 radio stations into Cincinnati-based Scripps. Both companies will spin off their newspaper assets into a new publicly traded company, Journal Media Group.

The deal is subject to the approval of shareholders and regulators. It is expected to close in 2015.

The newly formed newspaper company will be based in Milwaukee, employ about 3,600 and generate annual revenue of more than $500 million. The deal will make Scripps the nation’s fifth-largest independent broadcasting company. It will remain in Cincinnati and be controlled by the Scripps family.

The boards of both companies have approved the transaction. The Scripps family has agreed to relinquish its 130-year control of Scripps newspapers as part of the deal.

“We are excited about what this merger offers. These are two great companies with strong journalistic and business traditions,” News Sentinel Publisher Patrick Birmingham said. “The new arrangement will allow the newspaper company to focus what newspapers do best, serving the information needs of their communities while reinventing themselves for the digital future.”

The leader of Scripps’ newspaper division, Tim Stautberg, will be CEO of the newly formed newspaper company, while Journal Communications CEO Steve Smith will be its non-executive chairman.

Stautberg said the company will be a “focused local media business with a print tradition” that will have the ability to expand beyond its 14-market footprint following the merger.

“I think it’s Scripps’ way of giving its newspapers the best opportunity to enter a new chapter of their life, free of debt, free of substantially all of the pension obligations,” Stautberg.