RACINE — Lee Enterprises, which owns The Journal Times, announced Monday morning that the company has reached an agreement to purchase the print and digital assets of the Kenosha News and the Lake Geneva Regional News. Mark Lewis, the publisher of The Journal Times, will become the president and publisher of the new media group comprised of all three publications and related properties.
“It’s a great benefit to our readers, advertisers and our communities. With expanded resources we can cover more news and, with expanded circulation, we can provide advertisers with more options,” Lewis said. “The editorial departments will remain independent and allow us to maintain a strong focus on local issues.”
The Kenosha News publishes seven days a week and has an average daily print circulation of about 20,000.
The Lake Geneva Regional News publishes weekly. The sale is expected to close on Thursday, with the new ownership starting Friday. The selling price was not disclosed.
In November 2017, The Journal Times and the Kenosha News signed an agreement to have Racine print the Kenosha paper. The Kenosha News started to be printed in Racine in May 2018.
Lee President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray said: “These two markets fit very nicely into our already strong footprint in Wisconsin. Their proximity to existing Lee properties creates opportunity for synergies while greatly strengthening our audiences in southeast Wisconsin.”
Mowbray said that the acquisition will be accretive to earnings in year one.
Kenosha News history
The Brown family has owned the Kenosha News since 1961, when Betsy and Howard Brown — founders of United Communications Corporation — purchased the then-Kenosha Evening News.
In the years after its purchase, the Brown family became a staple of the Kenosha community — with stories abounding about the kindness of Howard Brown and the contributions to community endeavors by Betsy Brown.
“When my father purchased the Kenosha Evening News 57 years ago, my parents’ love affair with Kenosha and the paper began,” said UCC President and Chief Executive Officer Lucy Brown.
“It was their honor to serve the people of Kenosha and Lake Geneva with a mission of community service supported by a strong local newspaper,” Lucy Brown said.
The newspaper is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, with much thanks for its success to the efforts of the Brown family.
“The Brown family is very grateful for the hard work and dedication of all Kenosha News and Lake Geneva Regional News employees past and present,” Lucy Brown said. “Making the decision to sell is extraordinarily difficult, but we welcome Lee Enterprises and know the future looks bright under their leadership.”
Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises owns 46 daily publications and nearly 300 weekly and specialty publications in 20 states. Year to date, Lee’s newspapers have an average circulation of 0.7 million daily and 1.1 million Sunday, and are estimated to reach almost three million readers in print alone.
“It’s a great benefit to our readers, advertisers and our communities. With expanded resources we can cover more news and with expanded circulation we can provide advertisers with more options.” Mark Lewis, Journal Times publisher