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Thomson to sell New Castle News

Tuesday, October 20, 1998

By Dan Fitzpatrick, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The New Castle News is for sale.

Thomson Newspapers, which purchased the daily paper in 1988, is accepting bids through Santa Fe, N.M.-based Dirks, Van Essen & Associates, one of the country's largest newspaper brokers.

Thomson, based in Stamford, Conn., has been marketing the paper for the last month or so.

Eric Shuman, Thomson Newspapers' senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the company does not comment on potential transactions.

The New Castle News is the last Thomson-owned newspaper in Pennsylvania and evidently does not fit the company's strategy of operating regional newspapers as large marketing clusters, sharing advertisers and editorial costs.

The company began unloading its Western Pennsylvania holdings last year, when it sold The Daily Courier of Connellsville, the Leader Times of Kittanning and The Valley Independent of Monessen to The Tribune-Review Publishing Co., owner of the Greensburg Tribune-Review.

This year, it sold the The Meadville Tribune in Meadville, Crawford County, to Canada's Hollinger International Inc. and the Altoona Mirror to a group that includes The Ogden Newspapers and The Nutting Newspapers of Wheeling, W.V.

It also sold three Ohio newspapers -in Salem, East Liverpool and Warren -to the same Ogden/Nutting group.

Thomson, a $1 billion unit of Canada's $6 billion publishing giant Thomson Corp., operates 68 daily newspapers with a total circulation of 1.9 million.

Ten years ago, it bought the New Castle News from The News Co., a company jointly owned by the Treadwell and Rentz families.

The paper, which publishes every day except for Sunday, is 119 years old.

Circulation was 19,563 as of September 30, 1997, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

That number is down from 20,195 on September 30, 1996.

The paper employs 90 people full time.

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