Adams Publishing Group announced Tuesday it has acquired Greater Beloit Publishing, adding to a growing group of newspapers in southcentral Wisconsin and setting the table for those papers to work together, a company executive said.
Greater Beloit Publishing comprises the Beloit Daily News, Weekend Daily News and My Stateline Shopper, all formerly owned by Hagadone Newspapers, which has owned the Daily News since 1969, that newspaper reported.
The announcement comes three weeks after Adams announced the acquisition of The Gazette.
The company planned to complete purchases of Rock County’s two daily newspapers Tuesday, said Jeff Patterson, president of Adams Publishing Group Central Division.
The new “regional group” of newspapers in southern Wisconsin will plan ways to share resources and improve their news and advertising, Patterson said.
Minneapolis-based Adams Publishing also operates daily newspapers in Fort Atkinson and Watertown and weeklies in Sun Prairie, Waterloo, Cottage Grove, Cambridge, Lake Mills, Milton, Waunakee, DeForest and Lodi.
“There are some tremendous opportunities, moving forward, with a strengthened group like this,” which could mean better content for readers, Patterson said.
“We are very excited to have the Beloit newspapers join the Adams group of newspapers,” Mark Adams, CEO of Adams Publishing Group, said in a statement.
“The Beloit Daily News’ longtime associates have served the Beloit community well, and we look forward to continuing that tradition. Beloit is exactly the type of community we look for as we continue to expand our company, and this market fits well with other publishing properties we own in the great state of Wisconsin.”
The Daily News will be printed in The Gazette’s 12-year-old printing plant, so some employees of the Daily News’ printing operation will be laid off, Patterson said. He didn’t know how many, but he said they could be hired in Janesville if openings exist.
Patterson said leadership teams from the Adams papers in this area will meet today to begin discussions about how they can improve their products and service to customers with a company that has more resources than the formerly independent companies had.
Patterson pointed to potential “synergies and efficiencies” in the operation of the regional group of newspapers, but each newspaper will continue to have its own identity and to serve its community, as it has in the past, he said.
“That’s the way we do business. We are hyper-local in serving our communities, but there’s certainly some functions that can be strengthened through the larger group now,” Patterson said. “We’ll be able to work together to better serve our advertising customers, our readers, to provide more content through news sharing throughout the group.”
The distribution of newspapers and the business offices also are areas where efficiencies might be found, Patterson said.
Adams aims to continue producing top-quality content as news consumption habits change drastically, Patterson said.
Adams does not dictate the content of its publications and leaves local news managers to decide how to cover the news, what political endorsements to make or what opinions the papers express, Patterson said.
“Our readers may find that an opinion expressed in the Fort Atkinson Daily Union is different than it was expressed in the Janesville Gazette,” he said.
Asked about possible layoffs beyond the Daily News’ printing staff and other personnel changes going forward, Patterson said he gave up making predictions about the news business long ago but said: “Changes do happen and will happen ... but at this time no layoffs are planned.
“We’re real excited to bring the talented people in this region together. We’ve been working on this project for about a year and a half, to bring these great, award-winning papers under one roof,” Patterson said.
“We believe that together we’re stronger, and just imagine the things we can do in an industry that certainly has had its challenges right now. But we’re better positioned to continue our level of producing great content and delivering that on whatever platform (newspapers and digital media) our readers would like,” Patterson said.
Mary Jo Villa of Janesville, a longtime executive for Bliss Communications, will be announced as regional president, overseeing Adams companies in southern Wisconsin, Patterson said.
Villa came to The Gazette in 1990 as human resources director. She has served in a variety of leadership roles with Bliss Communications, including in newspaper distribution, in developing the printing plant and assisting with mergers and acquisitions. She has served as The Gazette’s general manager and as chief operating officer for Bliss.
The purchase of The Gazette from Bliss Communications also included The Eagle Herald in Marinette and The Janesville Messenger, The Wisconsin/Illinois Stateline News and the Walworth County Shopper Advertiser.
Adams Publishing operates more than 30 daily newspapers and 100 weekly newspapers in 20 states. It also operates outdoor advertising, a wine distribution business, Camping World, Good Sam Club and Gander Outdoors.