Brown County Publishing, headquartered in Green Bay, acquired the northern Wisconsin publications and websites of Journal Community Publications Group.
Included in the sale are the Star Journal in Rhinelander, County Post West in Waupaca, the County Post East in New London, the Merrill Foto News and Silent Sports magazine.
The sale also includes the Buyers’ Guides in Rhinelander, Waupaca, New London, Clintonville, Marathon County, Wood County and Stevens Point. Total circulation for the northern Wisconsin publications is about 200,000.
Brown County Publishing is a family-owned business that was started in 1953. Among the company’s former publications were the Door County Advocate and the Green Bay News-Chronicle.
Star Journal Publisher Pete Daniels said, “This is a very positive development for our Rhinelander publications and we aren’t anticipating any significant changes to our products or personnel other than continued growth.” He added, “Brown County Publishing is known for their commitment to their employees and the communities they serve.”
Publisher Frank Wood sold the Advocate and the News-Chronicle, along with 32 other publications, to Gannett in 2004.
The company currently has $22 million in total annual revenues and employs 100 people. Its printing facility is in Brookfield. About 75 employees in Journal’s northern Wisconsin group have begun working for Brown County Publishing.
“This brings us back to publishing in a big way and back to our roots,” according to Patrick Wood, CEO of Brown County Publishing. “After we sold to Gannett, we always thought about going back into newspapers.”
Wood says the acquisition will work well with the company’s strategy for growth. He also noted that Brown County Publishing already has a presence in the local market through its AutoPlus and Auto Gazette publications.
Wood said Brown County Publishing continues a family tradition of community newspapers, shoppers and specialty publications.
“I have worked in the business all of my life,” Wood said. “When my brother Chris and I were kids in grade school, we sold subscriptions, cleaned the sinks in the print shop and swept the floors. In college, I sold advertising for the Brown County Chronicle and the Green Bay News-Chronicle.”
Wood described the company as community-oriented.
“We view the company as a stewardship of providing good products and services to the community and a stewardship of employees, as well.”
Tom Wood and Nick Wood will be involved in the transition as Brown County Publishing takes over management of its new publications.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.