Monday, April 27, 2009

Investors Bet on Small-Market Papers

While big newspapers across the country fight for survival, the slice of the industry that serves small markets is drawing new investment from industry veterans.

Longtime newspaper executive Michael Schroeder (right) in January bought two Connecticut dailies on the verge of closure. Pennsylvania publisher Richard Connor says he is close to acquiring a group of Maine papers, including the state's largest daily.

Last month, according to a person familiar with the matter, Tennessee Valley Printing Co., a family-owned publisher of smaller papers, agreed to buy a paper in Florence, Ala., for about $12 million, taking it off the hands of New York Times Co., which needs to raise cash.

The buyers' confidence reflects the divide between big-city papers and their relatively healthier brethren in smaller cities and towns. Advertising revenue fell just 3.6% last year for dailies with circulations under 100,000, compared to a nearly 17% decline for the industry overall, according to trade groups. [Click for MORE]

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