Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Boyd Family Selling Its New Jersey Daily

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Boyd Family Selling Its New Jersey Daily

Article excerpt

AFTER TWO SUITORS looked and left, the Central New Jersey Home News in New Brunswick has agreed to be acquired by the Asbury Park Press, 25 miles to the southwest.

Terms were not released on the deal, which was expected to close in July, but one source estimated the price "in the mid-teens"-- or $16 million to $18 million.

"We think it's the smart move for us. It's the appropriate business thing to do," said William Boyd, chairman of Home News Publishing Co.

He said the Home News is profitable, but Press ownership will allow it to compete more aggressively in a crowded market.

An industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said a debt crisis, prompted by the regions economic slowdown several years ago, forced Home News Publishing to sell assets in order to pay more than $20 million in debt accumulated through broadcast acquisitions and stock repurchases during the boom years of the late 1980s.

The paper has been for sale since 1990.

If completed, the deal will put Home News Publishing, which began when Hugh Boyd acquired the Home News in 1880, out of the newspaper business. It sold its Connecticut weeklies last year. The company, owned by Boyd and three sons, retains some radio and television holdings.

"It's a very sad ending to a 113-year family newspaper history," said the source.

Boyd said the company plans to expand and may invest in another newspaper.

The Press has agreed to buy certain assets of the Home News, including the name, subscriber lists, trucks and office equipment, but not the real estate or presses.

Despite their proximity, the Press, owned by the Lass family and Jules Plangere Jr., intends to operate the Home News as an independent daily.

Circulating 53,000 papers daily, 61,000 Sunday, from the county seat of Middlesex County, the Home News is surrounded by competing dailies. At least one of them, the News Tribune in Woodbridge, is losing money for its owner, Malcolm Borg, proprietor of The Record in Hackensack to the north.

The closely-held Press, selling 166,000 papers daily, 230,000 Sunday, is the state's second largest paper, but is dwarfed by Newhouse Newspapers' Newark-based Star-Ledger, which sells 470,000 papers daily, 700,000 Sunday. The Star-Ledger shares the central Jersey market with the Home News and the News Tribune. …

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