Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hawaii's Musical Newspapers to Merge

From 1971 to 1993, Gannett owned Honolulu's Star-Bulletin, then they sold it to purchase the Honolulu Advertiser, while the Star-Bulletin continued publishing under a joint operating agreement.

In 1999, Liberty Newspaper and Gannett announced the severance of this agreement along with plans to shutter the Star-Bulletin, which caused local activists concern and as a result, the State of Hawaii ordered them to look for a buyer.

Black Press of British Columbia purchased a controlling interest in the Star-Bulletin, set them up as a standalone company, then lost money on their investment for the next nine years.

On February 25th, the 55,000 circulation Star-Bulletin and its parent announced that they had reached an agreement to buy the 130,000 circulation Honolulu Advertiser from Gannett for an undisclosed sum.

Most likely, Gannett sold because Honolulu is the only market, where they do not not enjoy a monopoly; The Star-Tribune will now have that monopoly, if a buyer for the smaller paper can not be found and they'll gain a modern printing plant, something the smaller paper had lacked.

The U.S. Justice Department has ordered Oahu Publications to put the Star-Tribune on the market for antitrust purposes, but since no buyer is expected and the state has indicated that they will not stand in the way of a merger, the employees of the Advertiser have started fearing for their jobs and questions are being raised about future ad costs, when Honolulu becomes a one paper town in about six weeks.
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