JCPG to focus on WI, FL markets

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Journal Community Publishing Group Inc., a member company of Journal Communications Inc., announced the sale of its publishing and printing assets in Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Ohio and Louisiana.

The Louisiana sale took place last week, and the others were announced June 19. The combined sales brought in a profit of nearly $30 million. All of JPCG's holdings are now concentrated in Wisconsin and Florida. Their property includes television and radio stations and local and daily print publications along with corresponding Web sites.

"We wanted to focus on our growth markets in Florida and also concentrate more on our local markets in Wisconsin," said Sara Leuchter Wilkins, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for JCPG parent company Journal Communications, Milwaukee, WI.

"We have a lot of critical mass in Wisconsin, a great printing plant in Wisconsin," she said. "We know the area well, so we can leverage our assets there. It makes sense to concentrate on a Wisconsin footprint."

The New England properties, which include 11 community newspapers, two printing facilities and five shopper products were bought by Hersam Acorn Community Publishing LLC. Hersam Acorn, Ridgefield, CT, currently publishes eight weekly papers in Fairfield County , CT and Westchester County, NY.

Gannett Co. Inc. will acquire the Central Ohio Advertiser Network, which includes specialty print products and 8 weekly shoppers. Gannett publishes 85 daily newspapers, including USA TODAY.

JCPG p lans to focus more closely on its Wisconsin and Florida markets, expanding its broadcasting opportunities in these areas. It will also attempt to buy more "tuck-in," or niche market publications in their localized areas. Companion Web sites for its print publications are also expected to grow.

"We made the strategic decision to sell our New England, Ohio and Louisiana publishing and printing businesses to focus on deepening our media offerings in our vital Wisconsin and Florida markets," Ms. Wilkins said, reading from a prepared statement.

"It sharpens our focus on the two markets where we think we can have the greatest impact," she said.

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