The news is out. Gannett just sold itself to the highest
bidder. Let’s take a look at this.
According to an article in USA Today, a Gannett-
owned newspaper, Gannett was acquired by GateHouse
Media, which is owned by New Media Investment
Group, which is owned by Fortress Investment group,
which is owned by Softbank. Is that a little bewildering
to you? I think it is for all of us.
Gannett and GateHouse together will own a lot of
newspapers. I mean a lot. How many? According to that
same article, over 260 daily newspapers. That includes
many here in North Central Wisconsin. It will be the
biggest newspaper company by number of publications
our nation has ever seen.
Now, who is Softbank, the new ultimate owner of the
combined Gannett-GateHouse conglomerate?
That’s a good question, and a little hard to answer.
We know it is based in Tokyo, Japan, and that it has
holdings in telecommunications, e-commerce, finance,
broadband, and marketing. Beyond that, what do we
know about Gannett’s Tokyo-based masters?
The rationale for this merger is that it will save $250
to $300 million dollars. I think we all know what that
means. USA Today reports “Gannett had about 16,980
employees at the end of 2018, while GateHouse had
about 10,638 employees, according to their securities fil-
ings.” Want to bet how many of those employees will
still be with the combined entity a year from now?
In the final analysis, the folks remaining at the
newly merged Gannett/GateHouse will be under
pressure to make money for their Tokyo, Japan-
based private equity owners in order to keep their
jobs. How much time will that give them for report-
ing our local news here in Wisconsin? How much
of the money they collect from us will stay here
in the communities or be shipped overseas to their
I think we know the answers to these questions,
and they don’t bode well for our community.