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Report: Providence Journal to Be Sold to GateHouse

061514weekendfun - WaterFire Providence Skyline. (James Turner)
Providence’s biggest newspaper is reportedly on the verge of a sale.James Turner/File photo

According to a report from GoLocalProv, the Ocean State’s biggest newspaper is on the verge of being sold to GateHouse Media.

GateHouse, which emerged from bankruptcy last year, owns nearly 300 newspapers across the country, including several dailies and weeklies in the region. Among GateHouse’s most prominent Massachusetts holdings are The Patriot Ledger, The Brockton Enterprise, The Taunton Daily Gazette, and The MetroWest Daily News. A GateHouse affiliate company also bought a cluster of several newspapers, including The Cape Cod Times and The Standard Times of New Bedford, from Dow Jones last year. Those papers are now operated by GateHouse.

The Providence Journal had been on the market since at least January. GoLocal reports the sale is expected to go for between $50 million and $60 million. The Journal’s current ownership, A.H. Belo Corporation, bought the paper for $1.5 billion in 1997. The difference points to the obvious difficulties newspapers have faced in the Internet age, as advertising and subscription revenue have struggled in the last decade or so. GoLocal reports the Journal’s advertising revenues have sunk by 70 percent between 2005 and 2013. However, the paper has seen recent gains in its contract printing business, which GateHouse might value.

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The report says the deal could be finished between the next 30 and 45 days.

Last month, Boston Globe and Boston.com owner John Henry sold The Worcester Telegram & Gazette to Florida-based Halifax Media Group. Henry himself bought the Globe and its related properties (including the T&G) last year from The New York Times for $70 million.

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