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GateHouse Media parent announces $46M cash deal to buy Providence Journal from AH Belo Corp.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The parent company of Gatehouse Media LLC on Tuesday announced an agreement to buy The Providence Journal and related print and digital assets from A.H. Belo Corp. for $46 million cash.

New York-based New Media Investment Group Inc. said it expects to complete the deal for the newspaper in the third quarter.

"The Providence Journal is one of the most established and prominent newspapers in the United States and is the pre-eminent provider of local content to the greater Providence marketplace," New Media President Michael Reed said. "We are very excited to welcome the paper, its employees and the community into the growing New Media family."

Reed said New Media also is looking to expand its digital services business in the Providence market with the newspaper's strong local sales force.

The announcement said the Journal, first published in 1829 and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes, has a circulation of about 72,000 daily and 96,000 on Sunday.

Dallas-based A.H. Belo's president, Jim Moroney, said he was confident New Media "will continue the great journalistic tradition" of the Journal.

"We thank our colleagues in Providence for their hard work and support as we have been privileged to own and operate The Providence Journal for the past seventeen years," he said in a statement.

A.H. Belo had said in December it was seeking a buyer for the Journal. A.H. Belo owns The Dallas Morning News and said it was focusing on Dallas. It also sold The Press-Enterprise, of Riverside, California, last year.

The Journal reported the deal includes its production facility but not its headquarters and its downtown parking lots, which A.H. Belo will lease for a year after the sale closes.

The Journal reported that GateHouse Media CEO Kirk Davis said in a letter Tuesday to the newspaper's employees that "We enter Providence and Rhode Island deeply committed to supporting a journalistically proud, sustainable, agile, and innovative newspaper."

GateHouse has numerous other properties in New England, including several dailies in southeastern Massachusetts.

New Media will operate in 363 markets across 27 states including the Journal acquisition.

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