Transaction adds five regional daily publications to the family that includes the Repository, Independent and Times-Reporter.
A family-owned newspaper chain serving a large portion of northeastern and east-central Ohio has joined the family of GateHouse Media, owner of The Canton Repository, The Columbus Dispatch and about 50 other Ohio publications and websites.
The Dix family announced Tuesday that it has sold Dix Communications to GateHouse Media for $21.2 million. The sale includes five daily newspapers, other publications and websites serving all or part of 13 of Ohio’s 88 counties: Ashland, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Holmes, Mahoning, Noble, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne.
The Dix media outlets join other nearby northeastern Ohio daily and weekly publications in the GateHouse Ohio Media family, including the daily Repository, The Independent in Massillon and The Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, as well as eight weekly and monthly publications around those and other northeastern Ohio communities.
Dix operations include a printing facility in Wooster and more than 30 daily and weekly newspapers, online-only publications and specialty publications. The largest newspapers are the Record-Courier in Kent, The Daily Record in Wooster, The Ashland Times-Gazette, The Alliance Review and The Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge.
Bradley M. Harmon, president of GateHouse Media Central US and publisher of The Columbus Dispatch, said GateHouse is committed to serving readers and advertisers in these communities with quality publications and websites.
“While we have a substantial footprint in central Ohio with the Dispatch Media Group, the new Dix Communications markets round out our portfolio nicely and add some wonderful newspapers and resources,” Harmon said. “We are very excited to add the Dix family of newspapers to our Ohio portfolio.”
Five generations of the Dix family had owned the company, which was founded in Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1893 by Albert Dix and his son, Emmett.
“We feel GateHouse has the regional and national scale necessary to advance the publishing industry and care for our communities with local news and advertising,” said G. Charles Dix II, who served as president and CEO of Dix Communications, and led it with other principal owners Andrew S. Dix, Ann Dix Maenza, Troy Dix, Andrew R. Dix, Robert C. Dix and David Dix.
“We’ve been in the industry for 119 years, and we’ve loved it,” Charles Dix said. “Prior generations, and current Dix family members, all have felt honor and pride in serving our local communities. We thank our readers and advertisers. It is our hope that along with publishing the news, we also aided our communities to grow and prosper economically, too. We have enjoyed working alongside our Dix associates, both past and present, whose integrity, hard work and care helped shape the newspapers’ success.”
GateHouse leaders met with Dix Communications employees at the five daily newspapers Tuesday to welcome them, Harmon said. He said that the Dix family wanted to see their family business in the hands of a company that would carry on their passion for good journalism and public service.
“Chuck Dix and Andrew Dix care deeply about the business, their people, and the communities they have served for years,” Harmon said. “Our goal is to continue their legacy and try to improve upon it.”
Not included in the sale are the Dix broadcasting properties in Wooster and in the Ocala-Gainesville, Fla., area. Full Spectrum Marketing, an advertising agency, and the recently acquired Mock Woodworking Co. also remain with Dix.
GateHouse, based in Pittsford, N.Y., operates in more than 520 markets in 35 states. It now owns more than 125 daily newspapers, more than 300 weekly newspapers, more than 120 shoppers and more than 530 local websites. It also owns Propel Business Services, which provides marketing and general business support to small and mid-sized businesses, including online advertising and social media marketing services.