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Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE: JRN), headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was founded in 1882. They are a diversified media company with operations in television and radio broadcasting, publishing and digital media. They own and operate 13 television stations and 35 radio stations in 11 states. They publish the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which serves as the only major daily newspaper for the Milwaukee metropolitan area, and several community publications in Wisconsin. Their digital media assets build on our strong publishing and broadcasting brands.
As a diversified business with expertise in television, radio, publishing and digital media, they’ve adapted to meet the challenges of an ever-changing industry. Their commitment to innovation, the focus and dedication of their employees, and their desire to be the best local media company in all their markets have each contributed to our success.
The company sold 11 community newspapers, five shoppers and two printing plants in Connecticut and Vermont to Hersam Acorn Newspapers. In Ohio, Journal sold eight shoppers, numerous specialty print products and the Advantage Press commercial printing business to Gannett Company. It also sold its Louisiana-based publishing business to a Target Media Partners affiliate. In 1999 Journal Communications acquired the Great Empire, radio group. The corporation had its initial public offering of Class A shares in 2003. For decades, Journal Communications was criticized with concerns about being a media monopoly in the Milwaukee area. It created the now-defunct alternative papers MKE and ¡Aqui! Milwaukee to regain advertising dollars lost to local independents like the Shepherd Express and the Milwaukee Spanish Journal.
On July 30, 2014, it was announced that Journal would be acquired by the E. W. Scripps Company in an all-stock transaction. Scripps would retain the two firms’ broadcasting properties, while both the Scripps and Journal print properties would be spun off as Journal Media Group. The FCC approved the deal on December 12, 2014, and it was approved by shareholders on March 11, 2015. The merger and spin-off were finalized on April 1, 2015; Stephen J. Smith was replaced as CEO by Timothy E. Stautberg—the former head of Scripps’ newspaper operation. Although Journal Media Group was based at Journal Communications’ old headquarters in Milwaukee, the latter company was legally defunct, having been absorbed into Scripps and renamed “Desk BC Merger, LLC”.
On October 7, 2015, it was announced that Gannett would acquire Journal Media Group for $280 million. The deal was finalized on April 8, 2016.