Months of speculation about a possible sale of the Log Cabin Democrat, Conway’s daily newspaper, came to fruition early Wednesday when Morris Communications announced a sale to GateHouse Media, long reported to be a suitor.
The sale came as Morris, based in Augusta, Georgia, announced its exit from the beleaguered daily newspaper business. It sold 10 dailies besides the Log Cabin, as well as several non-daily publications and digital assets, to GateHouse, an acquisition-hungry company based in suburban Rochester, New York, that is known for frugality and staff-cutting.
New Media Investment Group Inc., parent company of GateHouse, put the total sale price at $120 million.
The long-term implications for the Log Cabin Democrat’s staff were unclear, although a news story published on the paper’s website at 6:38 a.m. Wednesday noted that Cynthia Crabb, the de facto chief since the paper dispensed with having a publisher a year ago, would remain in the top post, group controller. In March, the paper announced that Crabb, sales executive Betsey Barham and Kelly Sublett, the vice president of audience and the daily’s chief editorial voice, would direct the publication as a triumvirate.
“Kelly and Betsey, along with all the other employees, will remain in their current positions,” Crabb told Arkansas Business on Wednesday morning. With the sale scheduled to close on Oct. 2, “there is not much to know at this time.” Crabb held a meeting with her staff on Wednesday and said all Morris Publishing Group employees were informed about the sale simultaneously.
Sublett, reached via email, would say only that the paper “is excited about moving forward with GateHouse Media.”
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