2023 Year In Review: Incredibly varied group of buyers acquire nearly 200 newspaper titles

Feb 1, 2024

Dirks, Van Essen & April

The buyer pool has never been as diverse in the newspaper merger and acquisition space as it was in 2023.

We tracked the sale of more than 15 daily newspapers and 165 nondaily publications last year. These titles changed hands in 55 transactions to 42 separate buyers — 42! Gone are the days of a few conglomerates snapping up every newspaper for sale.

The number of papers to change hands slowed slightly compared to 2022 when we tracked the sale of more than 32 daily newspapers and 200 nondaily publications. Similar to last year, there was not a single blockbuster deal, as the biggest newspaper companies remained on the sidelines of merger and acquisition activity.

The largest deals reported were Times-Shamrock Communications’ sale of its newspapers and commercial printing operation to Alden Global Capital’s Media News Group, the Soon-Shiong family’s sale of the San Diego Union-Tribune — also to Media News Group — and Reade Brower’s sale of five dailies and 17 non-dailies in Maine to a consortium put together by the National Trust for Local News.

Otherwise, deal activity was dominated by the sale of small weekly operations to more than three dozen entities, the majority of which had local ties.

Dirks, Van Essen & April is the leading merger and acquisition firm in the U.S. newspaper industry.