Lee Enterprises, Inc. to acquire Dispatch-Argus newspaper in $7.15 million transaction

More than 150 years of newspaper competition in the Quad Cities will draw to an end later this month with purchase of the Dispatch-Argus and its digital portal QCOnline.com by Lee Enterprises, Inc., owner of the Quad City Times.

The $7.15 million acquisition (including an adjustment for working capital) was announced today (6/19) and is expected to close by the end of the month.

CLICK HERE for observations on the newspaper sale by John Beydler, who recently retired from the Dispatch-Argus after a career of more than 40 years.

The Daily Dispatch in Moline was purchased by the Small Newspaper Group, based in Kankakee, IL in 1969, and the Dispatch acquired the Rock Island Argus in 1986. The Dispatch-Argus publishes seven days a week and has a circulation of 25,000.

According to the news release from Lee Enterprises, "the Dispatch-Argus will maintain its editorial independence," and Deb Anselm, publisher of the Quad City Times, will succeed Gerald J. Taylor as publisher of the Dispatch-Argus. Tom Biermann, former publisher of Lee's daily newspaper in Casper, WY, will become general manager of the Dispatch-Argus.

Both newspapers trace their roots back to the mid 1800's. The Quad Cities is one of the few remaining metropolitan areas in the U.S. served by more than one daily newspaper.

Len R. Small, president of Small Newspaper Group, stated in the news release that selling the Dispatch-Argus "was a difficult, but necessary move" as the company focuses on its three other daily newspapers and magazines in Illinois and Minnesota. The company owns the Kankakee (IL) Daily Journal, the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin and the Times-Press, Streator, IL.

Lee President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray stated in the news release the Dispatch-Argus "is a perfect strategic fit for Lee.”

“It is adjacent to two of our Iowa enterprises, in Davenport and Muscatine, so this will expand our audiences and create additional synergy opportunities," he stated. "We expect the acquisition to provide immediate value, accretive to both earnings and free cash flow.”

Lee Enterprises, headquartered in Davenport, IA, operates 46 daily newspapers and online news sites in 21 states.

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