DALLAS – A.H. Belo Corp. announced Wednesday morning that it is exploring the sale of the Providence Journal.
The announcement was made as part of release that revealed a number of revised financial and operating strategies by the newspaper company. Belo bought the 184-year-old daily in 1996 to complement its flagship publication, the Dallas Morning News. In announcing that it had hired Stephens Inc. to help it find a buyer, company Chairman, President and CEO James M. Moroney III said the move fit with an overall strategy to “focus on investing and growing in Dallas.”
In addition to publishing the Morning News and the Journal, Belo owns the Denton, Texas, Record-Chronicle. Belo completed the sale of the Riverside, Calif., Press-Enterprise for $27.25 million on Nov. 21 to Freedom Communications Inc.
In a story posted on the Journal’s website shortly after Providence Journal Co. President, Publisher and CEO Howard G. Sutton announced the decision of the parent company to explore the sale, Belo officials said the company would not sell the Journal “if it could not find an appropriate buyer or could not come to acceptable terms with a would-be buyer.”
Sutton was quoted as saying, “Ownership of our news organization may change, but the mission of the Providence Journal remains unwavering: to operate an independent and profitable news organization of unquestioned integrity devoted to the dissemination of excellent journalism in Rhode Island.”
In its release, Belo said the Journal sale would generate cash that it could use to “buy advertising and marketing services companies to grow and diversify revenues and to finance further share repurchases in the future.” The company also announced it had made an agreement with the Forth Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram to publish the rival newspaper for an initial term of 10 years, which is expected to add $6 million to $6.5 million in revenue annually to Belo.