February 16, 2017

Telegram's parent bought by Japanese firm for $3.3B

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette is based on Front Street in the Mercantile Center.

A Japanese firm has bought the investment company that owns GateHouse Media, the parent of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, MetroWest Daily News and others.

Fortress Investment Group of New York, which owns the newspaper chain, was bought for $3.3 billion in cash, Fortress and Japanese bank SoftBank Group Corp. announced this week.

Fortress and SoftBank are both public companies. The sale, subject to approval by Fortress shareholders and by regulators, is expected to close in the second half of the year.

The Telegram & Gazette has had a series of owners in a short time period.

The New York Times Co., which already owned The Boston Globe, bought the Worcester paper in 2000 for $295 million. By 2009, The Times was shopping the Telegram before pulling it off the market. It was then bought in 2013 by Red Sox owner John Henry when Henry also bought the Globe.

Henry then sold off the Telegram in May 2014 to Halifax Media Group of Florida, making it that company's only newspaper in the Northeast. By that November, however, Halifax Media Group was bought by the parent of GateHouse Media, bringing the Telegram under the same owners of many dailies across the region.

New York-based GateHouse also owns MetroWest Daily News, the Providence Journal, The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, The Enterprise of Brockton, The Herald News of Fall River and the Standard-Times of New Bedford, among dozens of weeklies across the area. GateHouse, which owns 121 daily newspapers nationwide, has its New England offices in Needham.

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