In a February 17 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Michael E. Reed, CEO of New Media Investment, Gatehouse's parent company, and former Gatehouse CEO, made it clear his company was ready to spend big money- $200 million- to add to its collection of hundreds of newspapers, including 15 in Missouri.
“During the quarter, we successfully closed our previously-announced acquisitions of the Columbia Daily Tribune and Rochester Business Journal, and announced and closed the acquisition of Harris Enterprises for $20.4 million. The Harris papers are a great complement to our footprint in Kansas and Iowa and have been serving their communities with quality local news and information for over a century. We were also pleased to recently announce and close our first deal for 2017, the acquisition of the publishing division of the Wooster Republican Printing Company for $21.2 million. This Ohio based group is a great strategic fit with our existing Ohio cluster. With this acquisition, we have now completed over $735 million of transactions since inception, completing eight transactions in 2016, the highest number of acquisitions we have done in any single year. With over $200 million in liquidity, New Media is well positioned to take advantage of more great acquisition opportunities at attractive valuations in 2017.
At the same time it was announcing that it was willing to spend hundreds of millions on newspapers when it has shown no ability to run the ones it already has, Gatehouse also announced it had a
$27 million "cost reduction program" for 2017.
That "cost reduction program" includes the decision to cut the Carthage Press to one day a week, the Neosho Daily and the Miami News-Record to twice a week and the Pittsburg Morning Sun to five times a week.
It also led to the elimination of jobs including the job of Press reporter Becca Haines.
Also losing their jobs, though technically they do not work for the Press, but are legally considered to be independent contractors, those who have delivered the Press to homes all over Carthage and the surrounding area, have been told their services are no longer needed.