Cox completes its newspaper divestitures


Cox Enterprises has found a buyer for the Longview News-Journal and The Marshall News Messenger. The two Texas dailies were the last of the newspapers that Cox had been trying to sell. It had recently taken the Austin American-Statesman off the market after deciding to reject all bids. So, it sold seven dailies in Texas, North Carolina and Colorado, along with some associated weekly properties.

Houston-based ASP Westward LP is buying the Longview and Marshall newspapers, marking the first entry into daily newspapers for the community newspaper group. According to the report of the sale in the Longview News-Journal, ASP was formed in 1987 and purchased in 1997 by Westward Communications, a partnership of seven investors tied to the banking division of Bank One based in Columbus, OH.

Gary Borders will remain as publisher of the Longview News-Journal and Phil Latham will continue as publisher of the Marshall News Messenger.

Following the sale of the Longview News-Journal and The Marshall News Messenger, Cox said it will have completed its newspaper sale process it began over a year ago. Citigroup and Dirks, Van Essen & Murray assisted Cox Enterprises in the marketing effort. Cox’s newspaper division will continue to own and operate The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA), Austin American-Statesman (TX), The Palm Beach Post (FL), Dayton Daily News (OH), Hamilton JournalNews (OH), The Middletown Journal (OH) and Springfield News-Sun (OH), as well as more than a dozen non-daily papers associated with those publications.