Alabama Owner of Eagle-Tribune, Haverhill Gazette Explores Sale of Newspapers

The combined Eagle-Tribune and Haverhill Gazette offices in downtown Haverhill closed in 2012. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Montgomery, Ala., owner of the Eagle-Tribune, Haverhill Gazette and other newspapers and magazines in 22 states, is exploring the possibility of selling the group of publications.

Monday’s announcement was made after CNHI’s parent company, Raycom Media, reported it has signed an agreement to be acquired by Gray Television group, a public company headquartered in Atlanta. Donna Barrett, CNHI’s president and chief executive office, said the company has retained the newspaper brokerage firm of Dirks, Van Essen, Murray and April to handle the sale of its newspapers.

“As we undertake this exploration process, we cannot say that any particular transaction will or will not take place,” said Barrett. “What we can say is that we will consider various options as we work to find a partner or partners that share our dedication to community newspapers and the vital journalism they produce to serve local audiences.”

The Eagle-Tribune and its associated ventures were sold by the Rogers family in December 2005 to the then-Birmingham, Ala.-based Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Previously, the owners of the Eagle-Tribune formed ETP Ventures in 1998 and purchased the daily Haverhill Gazette and converted it to a weekly. In March 2012, the combined Eagle-Tribune and Haverhill Gazette offices in downtown Haverhill closed.

CNHI is a 20-year-old newspaper company that has grown from a few community newspapers at the outset to more than 100 papers today. They are located in the Midwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast.

Raycom Media Inc., which owns or operates television stations in 65 markets, acquired CNHI nine months ago.