Paddock Publications Inc. announced Tuesday plans to purchase several daily and weekly newspapers in Southern Illinois from GateHouse Media LLC.
The sale, expected to be finalized Thursday, includes five daily newspapers and seven weekly newspapers in seven counties.
The weeklies are the Ashley News, Du Quoin News, The Gallatin Democrat in Shawneetown, Christopher Progress, The Randolph County Herald Tribune in Chester, The Ridgway News and Steeleville Ledger.
Employees of the newspapers were told of the sale in a staff meeting Tuesday morning in Marion. All are expected to be retained.
"The purchase is in keeping with our corporate strategy to diversify the company into areas where Paddock's brand of journalism and marketing acumen will provide additive revenues and profitability," said Douglas K. Ray, chairman, publisher and CEO of Paddock Publications. "These newspapers fit that model, and we are confident in our ability to grow the business.
"Now we take Paddock's newspapering success in the suburbs to downstate Illinois through the purchase of the Southern Illinois newspapers. If other opportunities present themselves, we will grow this community newspaper portfolio."
Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
Paddock Publications, based in Arlington Heights, is the publisher of the Daily Herald, dailyherald.com, Reflejos, The Business Ledger and an array of niche publications.
The Daily Herald is one of the largest family-owned newspapers in the country and has been published in the suburbs of Chicago since 1872.
GateHouse Media, based in New York, is one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country, with 125 daily and 316 weekly newspapers in 35 states.
"Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, one of the country's most successful corporations, is employing a similar strategy by buying small and medium-sized daily and weekly newspapers," Ray said. "He has said and we believe: There is no substitute for local news, and a newspaper that serves the community will remain indispensable. We intend to bring that kind of commitment to Southern Illinois."