The Gannett Company, owner of USA Today, Detroit Free Press and Arizona Republic, will now have a stake in local news. The Virginia-based publisher announced that it will acquire Dallas-based Belo Corporation for $1.5 billion in cash.
Belo Corp. owns WFAA in Dallas, KHOU in Houston, KVUE in Austin and KENS in San Antonio. This purchase does not include the Dallas Morning News, which has a different parent, the similar-sounding A. H. Belo Corp.
The purchase helps Gannett get a larger presence in television; it'll almost double the number of TV operations that Gannett owns, from 23 to 43 stations. Belo Corporation owns 20 TV stations in Texas, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest where Gannett does not.
A portfolio with such a large reach makes Gannett more enticing to big advertisers.
All of Gannett's newspapers are behind a paywall, except for USA Today. Company highlights include its 2011 layoff of 700 people right after giving its newspaper division head Robert Dickey a nearly 50 percent raise, from $1.9 million to $3.4 million.
The transition will be complete by the end of the year.