Gannet newspaper group spends $2bn – refuses pay rise
14 June 2013
Gannett, the parent company of UK newspaper group Newsquest, has acquired Belo, a chain of American TV companies for $2 billion.
Bob Smith, FoC of the Newsquest Group Chapel, said, in response:
"Gannett's offer to spend more than $2bn acquiring a chain of US television companies is worrying to its UK NUJ members. Not so long ago, Gannett was saddled with $2.3bn of debt, the consequence of which it is still dealing with. Now it has admitted it will have to borrow again to finance the purchase of Belo for $2.2bn.
"It appears the Gannett board has short memories. The move might also be seen as indicative that Gannett sees its future in broadcast rather than print, another worry for the long-suffering journalists in the UK, who have endured a pay freeze for four of the past five years.
"Newsquest's profits in the meantime have been used stateside to help service the debts previously built up by Gannett. The taking on of yet-unquantified further debt by Gannett does not bode well for the future of its UK operations and the staff working in them."
Newsquest is one of the largest publishers of regional papers with 17 daily paid-for publications and more than 200 weekly publications, magazines and trade publications.
Its daily titles include The Herald (Glasgow), The Northern Echo (Darlington), Telegraph & Argus (Bradford), Evening Times (Glasgow), Southern Daily Echo (Southampton), The Argus (Brighton), The Press (York), Oxford Mail and South Wales Argus (Newport).