Macquarie Media Group to acquire ACM newspapers

Macquarie Media Group of Sydney, Australia, announced Wednesday that it has entered an agreement to acquire American Consolidated Media and Valley Newspapers Holdings LP, which publishes 40 local newspapers serving nine regional communities in Texas and Oklahoma.

The acquisition, which will include the Alice Echo-News Journal, the Kingsville Journal, The Freer Press, The Premont Journal and the Orange Grove Journal, has a value of $80 million.

ACM publishes five daily newspapers, 19 weekly newspapers and 16 shoppers and specialty publications with associated Web sites. Other daily newspapers are the the Brownwood Bulletin, the Stephenville Empire-Tribune and the Waxahachie Daily Light, all in Texas, and the Miami News-Record in Oklahoma.

"ACM is a very attractive investment for MMG as it meets our key investment criteria," MMG Managing Director Alex Harvey said. "The acquisition is part of a broader strategy to acquire and grow a portfolio of community newspaper businesses in the United States."

Harvey said Jeremy Halbreich, ACM's founder, board chairman, president and chief executive officer, has over 30 years experience managing newspaper businesses, including 12 years as the president and/or general manager of The Dallas Morning News.

"His team has successfully grown ACM by acquiring and developing community newspaper businesses, and they will continue in their current roles following completion of the acquisition and will drive any future consolidation activity," Harvey said.

"The entire ACM management team eagerly looks forward to our new affiliation with MMG as we execute continued growth and expansion of our local community newspaper platform," Halbreich said. "ACM and MMG share the same mission, values and operating philosophies."

Financial settlement of the acquisition is expected to occur in early February, and is subject to several conditions, including regulatory approvals.