Daily News Publishing Co. up for sale
Published: August 27, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Times-Shamrock Communications has announced plans to sell The Virgin Islands Daily News and its affiliated print and online publications.
"News of major change at landmark institutions such as The Daily News can be a little surprising, but our managers, staff and I are confident that we will continue to build on this newspaper's 83 years of success during and after the company's transition to new owners," Daily News publisher Jason Robbins said Monday.
The decision to sell was based on the parent company's change in strategic planning and priorities for new stateside investments, according to Times-Shamrock chief executive officer George Lynett Jr.
"The Virgin Islands Daily News has been a strong, profitable investment for us for five years," Lynett said. "As we look to diversify our family's holdings and reinvest in our core Northeast Pennsylvania market, it made sense for us to offer The Daily News for sale to someone who can take it to the next level of growth."
The sale process will be handled by Cribb, Greene & Associates, a leading mergers and acquisitions firm in the U.S. newspaper industry.
Business as usual
Robbins said that Times-Shamrock's immediate priority is to assure The Daily News' employees, readers and advertisers that normal operations will continue throughout the sale process.
"Our readers and vendors will find the newspaper delivered on its regular schedule to the same vendors. We will continue to specialize in hard-hitting investigative and public service journalism, and we will keep the paper filled with our daily chronicle of the people, culture, business and politics of our islands," Robbins said.
"Our advertisers will continue working with our talented sales representatives to get their messages out to the Virgin Islands audience. Our staff and contractors will come to work at the same places, on the same schedules and with the same wages and benefits throughout the sale process," he said.
Daily News Publishing Co. produces the flagship daily newspaper as well as Island Trader, Crucian Trader, Love City Trader, Best of the V.I., Virgin Islands How-To Guide and dozens of other titles. The Daily News' website, virginislandsdailynews.com, is one of the most visited sources of online news in the Caribbean.
The company employs 50 full-time and part-time staff and works with dozens more drivers, street-side vendors, freelancers and other service contractors, Robbins said. The company operates from its headquarters office and printing plant in Estate Thomas, St. Thomas, and a satellite news and advertising bureau in Gallows Bay, St. Croix.
The Daily News and the weekly Trader publications are distributed at more than 350 locations throughout the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the company's websites attract tens of thousands of visitors from around the world every month, Robbins said.
The newspaper provides advertising services to more than 2,000 businesses in the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean and the United States every year, he said.
Robbins said that Times-Shamrock's commitment to community causes has supported extensive giving from The Daily News to local charities.
"Since Times-Shamrock bought the newspaper five years ago, our charitable donations of cash and services have been worth over $150,000 each year," he said.
"We've been serving the Virgin Islands community for more than 83 years. Thanks to new technologies, we have more readers than ever in our history and we can reach them anywhere in the world through several digital formats. We're very proud of our achievements and excited about serving the Virgin Islands in the future," Robbins said.
The Virgin Islands Daily News has been in continuous operation since Aug. 1, 1930. The newspaper has earned dozens of national honors, including the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the highest award in American journalism.
The planned sale will be the fifth ownership change for The Daily News, which was founded Aug. 1, 1930, by J. Antonio Jarvis and Ariel Melchior Sr.
Melchior subsequently became sole owner of the business and then sold it to Gannett Co., a nationwide media conglomerate, in 1978.
In 1997, Gannett sold the paper to Virgin Islands-based holding company Innovative Communication Corp. When ICC was broken up through bankruptcy proceedings in 2008, the newspaper was acquired by Times-Shamrock, a family-owned and operated media company based in Scranton, Pa.
Under Times-Shamrock ownership, Daily News Publishing Co. has been honored repeatedly for the high quality of its journalism. Last month, the Associated Press Media Editors organization announced that The Daily News won three of APME's 2013 national journalism excellence awards:
- The 43rd annual First Amendment Award for circulation of 40,000 and under.
- The inaugural Tom Curley First Amendment Sweepstakes Award, for which newspapers of all sizes are in competition with each other.
- The 43rd annual APME Public Service Award in the under-40,000 circulation category.
The Daily News won the Public Service Award for the second year in a row and the eighth time overall; the newspaper has been a finalist for the prize in three additional years. The First Amendment Award is the newspaper's first win in that competition after one previous finalist citation.
The Times-Shamrock properties being marketed for sale include four daily newspaper companies: the Towanda (Pa.) Daily & Sunday Review, The Shamokin (Pa.) News-Item, The Petersburg (Va.) Progress-Index, and The Virgin Islands Daily News; the company also plans to sell five alternative newsweeklies: the Baltimore City Paper, Orlando Weekly, the San Antonio Current, Cleveland Scene and Detroit MetroTimes, according to a Times-Shamrock statement released Monday.
Robbins said Times-Shamrock will announce further details about the sale and prospective buyers as the process moves forward during the coming months.