The nation's two largest newspaper companies are seeking to join forces.
New Media Investment Group, the hedge fund-controlled holding company that operates GateHouse Media, closed on a deal to acquire Gannett Co. on Monday in a combination cash-stock deal.
GateHouse Media is the parent company of several Central Illinois newspapers, including the Peoria Journal Star, Pekin Daily Times, Canton Daily Ledger and Galesburg Register-Mail.
Gannett runs USA Today, as well as regional and local paper across the country.
A WCBU reporter spoke to Peoria Journal Star columnist Phil Luciano about the proposed deal before it was announced Monday afternoon.
"I don't foresee anything drastic, further drastic, happening to GateHouse papers immediately, but if I were a reader or employee of a Gannett paper, I would be very, very concerned about staffing cuts," he said.
In a press release, the two companies said they expect to trim costs by $275 million to $300 million through "run-rate cost synergies."
As part of the deal, New Media Investment Group and GateHouse Media will rebrand under the "Gannett" umbrella.
In a press release, New Media Investment Group CEO Michael Reed said combining will allow the companies to "accelerate our shift from print-centric to dynamic multimedia operations" and expand "comprehensive, hyperlocal coverage for consumers."
New Media currently owns and operates 154 daily publications, and an assortment of weekly papers. That reach will expand to 263 dailies and 47 states upon the acquisition's closure.
The deal is still pending approval by the U.S. Department of Justice, but is anticipated to close before the end of the year.