GateHouse, Gannett deal closes, creates largest U.S. newspaper chain

Sections of a USA Today newspapers rest together, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Norwood, Mass. On Monday, Aug. 5, GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, announced that it is buying USA Today owner Gannett Co. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
By  | 

NEW YORK (AP) -- GateHouse has closed its $1.1 billion takeover of Gannett, promising a $300 million cut in annual costs as it becomes the country’s largest newspaper company by far at a time when print publications are in precipitous decline.

The new company keeps the Gannett name and brings about 260 daily papers together, including USA Today, The Arizona Republic, the Providence Journal and the Austin American-Statesman.

It has set itself a challenging task. Its executives say they can support local journalism by expanding digital businesses. Digital today makes up only about a quarter of its combined revenue.

Meanwhile, there’s a high-interest $1.8 billion loan to be paid back to private-equity firm Apollo. Layoffs are expected. Executives say they will try not to slash reporting jobs.