What's Next After Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Morning News Merger in Northwest Arkansas

by Rob Keys  on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009 11:27 am  

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's printing operation in Lowell.

Final Score

Many, including Fitzgerald and Trolinger, predicted the proposed merger in Northwest Arkansas would be approved. Fitzgerald said the government recognizes the struggles of the newspaper industry and generally has looked favorably on such agreements.

Even Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this year he was open to re-examining antitrust policies that limit mergers in the newspaper industry.

"I think it's important for this nation to maintain a healthy newspaper industry, so to the extent that we have to look at our enforcement policies and conform them to the reality that the industry faces, that's something I'm going to be willing to do," Holder told reporters.

"I'd like to think that 20, 30, 40 years from now people will still be reading newspapers."

How many newspapers will be available in Northwest Arkansas at that time remains to be seen. More than one insider has painted Hussman as a patient and disciplined businessman.

Hussman lived up to that reputation when he bought the Fayetteville and Bentonville newspapers in 2005, the fifth year of a 10-year lease agreement. Hussman had an option to buy at any time during that 10-year period, and CPI had a similar option to force him to buy.

At the time, Hussman said the Democrat-Gazette's Northwest edition had been profitable for four consecutive months and that it "seemed like a good time to buy."

(Associate Editor Susannah Patton contributed to this story.)

 

 

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