Next month the Post Co. will be purchased by Adams Publishing Group LLC, a family-owned media company based in St. Louis Park, Minn.
Included in the sale will be the Post Register, as well as weekly newspapers the Shelley Pioneer, Challis Messenger and Jefferson Star. Post Co. President Jerry Brady informed employees of a possible sale July 29, though the buyer was not made public until this week.
The sale, expected to be finalized Nov. 1, ends more than a 90-year Post Co. ownership run by the Brady family. A price was not disclosed.
Adams Publishing Group owns dozens of newspapers, events, digital products and magazines across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland and Ohio, and it recently purchased four newspapers in Wyoming. The Adams family also owns radio stations, an outdoor advertising company and Camping World/Good Sam, a distributor of recreational vehicles and camping products and services.
“Readers will not see a significant difference in the newspaper under the new ownership,” said Post Register Publisher Roger Plothow, who will stay on in the same role under Adams.
The Post Co. has been a family-run business passed down through the Brady family since 1925. Brady, 79, previously said that he felt he had nothing more to add to the company, and although the decision was difficult, he was convinced selling the company was the right thing to do.
“We have done our very best during hard times,” Brady said in a Wednesday letter to employees. “I believe we have found the best possible buyer, a buyer who is investing in our industry when others are not.”
Circulation and advertising revenues at newspapers across the country have steadily declined in the last decade, and the Post Register has been no exception.
Brady and his brother, Jack, own about two-thirds of the company. The remainder is owned by employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Employees invested in the plan were given ballots to vote on the Adams sale at a Wednesday meeting, however they do not hold the necessary majority interest in the company to turn down the deal.
Earlier in the summer Post Co. executives approached two media companies about a possible purchase but the parties couldn’t agree on a price. The company then enlisted a newspaper broker who found Adams to be interested. Talks progressed quickly.
“We think we’ve found the best deal out there,” Brady wrote in the July letter to employees. “It would provide enough money to retire all debts, allowing us to go forward debt-free and to make a distribution to (employee) owners.”
Plothow said Adams has provided “no mandate on editorial content or news content.” He said the company operates in “a very open manner,” and has a small corporate staff.
“They believe, as I do, that decisions are best made locally,” he said.
Plothow said there would be tweaks made to the Post Register’s opinion pages in coming weeks, though those changes “likely would have happened regardless” of the sale to Adams.
Adams Publishing Group in the last two years has purchased dozens of small publications across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maryland and Ohio. With the Post Co. and four Wyoming newspaper purchases — announced last week — the company will own more than 50 daily and weekly newspapers. The Post Register will be the largest.
The Wyoming papers, previously owned by the McCraken Newspaper Group, are the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in Cheyenne, the Laramie Boomerang, the Rawlins Daily Times and the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner. Along with the Post Register and associated weeklies, the newspapers will make up a new Rocky Mountain newspaper region for the company.
Plothow said it is not yet known whether there would be significant collaboration with the Wyoming newspapers, or a possible consolidation of resources. A strategy used by major newspaper companies in recent years is to buy publications in adjacent markets to accumulate revenue and readers, then consolidate certain duplicative operations such as printing and delivery to save money.
Adams Publishing Group was founded by Stephen Adams, a Minneapolis, Minn. native. He is the son of a well-known newspaper and CBS broadcast journalist, Cedric Adams.