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Canadian-Based Company Buys 23 U.S. Daily Newspapers

January 3, 1987 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ A Canadian-based company has completed the purchase of 23 U.S. daily newspapers in six states and is negotiating for 10 Canadian dailies in a combined deal worth an estimated $103 million, officials confirmed Friday.

Hollinger Inc. completed the U.S. acquisitions, which also included several other publications and a partial interest in another daily, in four separate transactions, the last of which occurred Wednesday, said John Boultbee, vice president of finance and treasury for the Toronto-based company.

″The major reason for the purchase is that the United States is the only place left with any independent newspapers,″ Boultbee said in a telephone interview. ″Up here, virtually all of them have been snatched up″ by newspaper groups, he said.

The company expects ″very shortly″ to complete the purchase of Sterling Newspapers Ltd. of Canada and its 10 dailies, one weekly and two Sunday newspapers, said Charles Cowan, a Hollinger vice president.

Hollinger, which also owns a cable television company in the Los Angeles area, holds a 58 percent stake in the London Daily Telegraph, which has a circulation of 1.2 million.

Cowan said the newspapers ″will be operated much the same as they have been.″ He said no major editorial changes were planned at any of the papers.

All of the newspapers in the United States are held in Hollinger’s wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, American Publishing Co., a Delaware corporation formed in November, Cowan said in a telephone interview.

The newspapers purchased include nine in Illinois: the Benton Evening News, the Canton Daily Ledger, the Carmi Times, the Eldorado Daily Journal, the Evening Call in DuQuoin, the Marion Daily Republican, the Monmouth Review Atlas, the Murphysboro American, and the West Frankfort Daily American.

Acquistions in Pennsylvania are: the Bradford Era; the Corry Evening Journal; the Kane Republican; the Ridgeway Record; The Sayre Evening Times; the Punxsutawney Spirit; and a 30 percent interest in the St. Mary’s Daily Press.

Newspapers purchased in New York are the Evening Tribune in Hornell, the Wellsville Reporter, the Salamanca Republican and two weeklies - the Genessee County Express in Dansville and the PennYan Chronicle Express.

The company also bought the Columbia City Post and Mail and the Hartford City News-Times in Indiana; the The Wapakoneta Daily News and the Evening Leader in St. Mary’s, Ohio; and the Boonville News Advertiser in Missouri.

Its acquisitions also included one Sunday newspaper, two free circulation weeklies, seven free circulation shoppers, a national circulation magazine called Stamps and a multistate recreational weekly advertising publication.

Cowan did not have separate figures for the estimated value of the U.S. and Canadian transactions.

Hollinger, which owns and operates a chain of grocery stores in Ontario and formerly operated a string of resorts in Canada, has sold or is in the process of selling those holdings and will concentrate on its newspapers, said Boultbee.