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Gannett to Split Into Two Publicly Traded Companies

A pedestrian walks past a Gannett Co. USA Today newspaper box in Washington, D.C. Newspapers have steadily lost money and readership since hitting a sales peak in 2005. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
A pedestrian walks past a Gannett Co. USA Today newspaper box in Washington, D.C. Newspapers have steadily lost money and readership since hitting a sales peak in 2005. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Gannett Co., the owner of USA Today, said it will split into two publicly traded companies, one focused on broadcasting and digital businesses and the other on publishing.

The publishing business will be split through a tax-free distribution of assets to shareholders, the company said in a statement today.

“The transaction will create two focused companies with increased opportunities to grow organically across all businesses as well as pursue strategic acquisitions.”

Newspapers have steadily lost money and readership since hitting a sales peak in 2005. Classifieds advertising has been hardest hit, dropping by more than half between 2000 and 2008 to $9.9 billion, according to the Pew Research Center.

The company also said today it agreed to buy the 73 percent interest it doesn’t already own in Classified Ventures LLC, which owns Cars.com, for $1.8 billion in cash. Cars.com, which was started in 1998, lets users check prices, compare models and read reviews of auto dealers.

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