WASHINGTON: US media giant Gannett announced plans Tuesday to split into two separate firms, one for broadcast and digital, and the other for newspapers including its national daily USA Today.
“The bold actions we are announcing today are significant next steps in our ongoing initiatives to increase shareholder value by building scale, increasing cash flow, sharpening management focus and strengthening all of our businesses to compete effectively in today’s increasingly digital landscape,” said Gannett president and chief executive Gracia Martore.
Gannett becomes the latest media conglomerate to spin off struggling print news operations from faster-growth operations such as television.
It comes on the heels of similar moves by Rupert Murdoch’s media-entertainment empire that split into 21st Century Fox and News Corp., and a spin-off by Tribune Co. of its newspaper assets. Time Warner this year spun off its magazine division as Time Inc. in June.
Gannett has said it signed a deal to acquire the 73 percent it does not own of Cars.com, a major player in the online auto business. The other owners of the website include newspaper groups Belo Corp., McClatchy Co., Tribune Co. and Graham Holdings, which is the former owner of the Washington Post Gannett will create a new publicly traded broadcasting and digital company, which has yet to be named, and which will remain headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Martore will serve as chief executive. The unit includes 46 television stations including network affiliates in the top 25 US markets. It also will include Cars.com and the online jobs site CareerBuilder.com.
The publishing group, which will retain the Gannett name, will include USA Today as well as 81 other daily newspapers, some 200 weeklies and magazines, and the community news service Newsquest.
Robert Dickey, who heads Gannett’s community publishing, will be CEO of the unit, which will also be publicly traded.
The publishing unit will retain the websites and digital apps of USA Today and the other news organizations, according to a Gannett statement.