Merger of local newspapers

FAYETTEVILLE, SPRINGDALE, ROGERS, BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS – Stephens Media LLC and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. (owned by WEHCO Media) have requested the United States Department of Justice to review a joint venture between the firms in Northwest Arkansas. 

Stephens Media publishes the Morning News, Rogers and Springdale, and various weekly publications in Benton and Washington County, Arkansas and McDonald County, Missouri.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. publishes the Benton County Daily Record (Bentonville), the Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville), and a zoned edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and various weeklies in the area. The Morning News and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazetteуs Northwest Edition have suffered significant financial losses during the current economic recession. Both companies have employed various cost-cutting strategies, but despite these measures, the newspapers continue to have significant operating losses.   Under the proposed joint venture, a new Arkansas limited liability company (LLC) will be formed, which will be equally owned by the parties.  The parties will contribute the assets of their Northwest Arkansas daily newspapers (Benton County Daily Record, the Morning News, Rogers and Springdale, the Northwest Arkansas Times, and the Northwest Edition of the Democrat-Gazette) and weekly newspapers, real property, plants, and equipment to the new LLC.  Stephens Media will be responsible for editorial control of the local newspapers in northwest Arkansas.  Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Inc. will control advertising, business, production and circulation functions of the new LLC, and will be in charge of the editorial functions of the Northwest Arkansas Edition of the Democrat-Gazette. At the request of the Department of Justice, Stephens Media has agreed to pursue a sale of the Morning News to a qualified buyer who would agree to continue publishing the Morning News separately as a daily newspaper in competition with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspapers and other media.  Stephens Media has retained Cribb Greene and Associates, Charlottesville, Virginia, as its broker.  Cribb Greeneуs telephone number is (434)-971-8344.

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