Feds OK sale of Memphis, Knoxville newspapers

Federal regulators Thursday approved the $280 million sale of Journal Media Group Inc. to Gannett Co. Inc., clearing the way for Gannett to acquire the company’s newspapers in 14 U.S. markets, including the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and the News Sentinel in Knoxville.

Further from the News Sentinel:

The approval from the U.S. Department of Justice means the deal is expected to close today.

The merger will give Gannett, the owner of USA Today and 92 other daily publications, six daily newspapers in Tennessee, as well as the biggest news outlet in Wisconsin’s largest market.

Combining the companies also strengthens Gannett’s holdings in several other states, including Florida, Indiana and Texas.

The acquisition is part of the transformation of the newspaper industry, which is in transition as consumers and advertisers migrate to the internet. Gannett, based in McLean, Va., describes its USA Today Network as the largest local-to-national news network in the country.

Journal Media Group stockholders will receive $12 per share in cash in the deal, which was approved by shareholders on March 1. Federal regulators needed to sign off before the sale could be completed, because of antitrust rules.

JMG, with about 3,400 employees at the time, was created in April 2015 after The E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications Inc. merged their local TV and radio operations and spun off their newspapers into an independent, publicly traded company based in Milwaukee.