Gannett Co., the owner of USA TODAY and other newspaper and television properties, including KSDK-TV, across the USA and United Kingdom, announced Thursday that it is entering into a definitive merger agreement with Belo Corp., catapulting Gannett into the nation's fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates reaching nearly a third of U.S. households.
Belo owns and operates 20 TV stations -nine in the top 25 markets - and their associated websites.
The acquisition nearly doubles Gannett's current broadcast portfolio from 23 to 43 stations, including stations to be serviced by Gannett through shared services or similar sharing arrangements.
Gannett will acquire all outstanding shares of Belo for $13.75 per share in cash, or approximately $1.5 billion, plus assume $715 million in existing debt for an enterprise value of approximately $2.2 billion. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, represents a 28.1% premium to the closing price of Belo common stock on June 12, 2013.
President and Chief Executive Officer Gracia Martore of Gannett, said, "We are thrilled to bring together two highly respected media companies with rich histories of award-winning journalism, operational excellence and strong brand leadership."
Belo's President and Chief Executive Officer Dunia Shive said, "This is an outstanding and financially compelling transaction for our shareholders. It is also a testament to the tremendous value our employees have created over Belo's long history and to the strength of our brand in the media industry."
Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Gannett engages more than 100 million people every month through its network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties. In addition to USA TODAY, Gannett owns regional newspapers such as the Detroit Free Press and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
Shares (GCI) in Gannett closed down 1.59% on Wednesday but have soared to $19.85 from $12.50 in July as the company has aggressively pursued efforts to diversity its business model.
Gannett earned $104.6 million, or 44 cents per share, in the January-March period. That was up from $68.2 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 1.6% to $1.24 billion from $1.22 billion.
Missing Franklin County children 13-year-old Erica Linsey and 11-year-old Scotty Warner have been found unhurt.
The two friends were last seen at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday playing outside near White Road south of St. Clair.
Sheriff Gary Toelke says the area where the kids went missing in a very remote location close to the Meramec River. Just before 10:00am Thursday, Warner was found and led searchers to his 13-year-old neighbor. Erica Linsey was found hiding under porch. Searchers are trying to coax her out. Reportedly, she had fought with her sister the night before.
Earlier, Sheriff Gary Toelke told KTRS News there was no reason to believe the two were runaways. There was concern about the safety of the area due to mine shafts, caves, and the Meramec river.
Initially, Toelke says there were initial indications the two used a cell phone to access the Internet just before midnight from the area where they were reported missing.
Fire has destroyed the LivRite Fitness Center in the 1000 block of Carlyle. Firefighters remain at the scene (6:45am).
The building is considered a complete loss. Fire crews are still dealing with a hot spot. Smoke can be seen coming through a portion of the roof. The fire call came in just after 11:00pm Wednesday night. When firefighters arrived, flames were already threw the roof. The business was closed. No one was hurt.
Fire officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. But officials say a janitor has reported hearing popping sounds shortly before the fire broke out, so an electrical fire is suspected. No one was injured in that blaze.
The BJC Hospital group is laying off 160 employees from it's 13 hospitals.
BJC officals say the lay-offs necessary because of a decline in in-patient care. The problem, they say, is that people are delaying treatments, some for lack of insurance, others because of high co-pays.
Layoff notifications started going out Wednesday.
Most of those affected work in administrative and management positions. BJC says those laid off will receive severance pay based on years of service.
There's new hope for a long-vacant, landmark building in downtown St. Louis. A Minneapolis developer has bought the St. Louis Arcade Wright building at Eighth and Olive Streets.
Dominium Developments paid $9 million dollars for the building, and plans to spend another $100 million to turn the 18 story structure into a retail and residential center. The plan calls for about 250 apartments and three floors of retail.
City officials are working with Dominium to finance the renovations.
Work is expected to begin in December.
This is the second proposal to revitalize the landmark building. Six years ago a similar plan failed when the developer went belly-up.
A 34 year old St. Louis man is facing charges for a hit-and-run accident that sent a pregnant woman and her six year old son to the hospital Monday night.
Police say the 23 year old woman and her son were crossing the street near Natural Bridge and North Grand a little after 10:00 p.m. when they were struck. Both were seriously injured. The woman is eight months pregnant, but her unborn child appears to be unharmed.
Menkara Rahman is now charged with leaving that accident scene. He's jailed on a $35,000 cash-only bond.
Police are looking for a 94 year old St. Peters woman who disappeared Wednesday afternoon.
Police say Ellen McCurter left her home in the first block of El Dorado Drive to go to a grocery store off Mid Rivers Mall Drive about 4 p.m. and hasn't been seen since. McCurter was last seen driving away in her silver 2002 Chrysler Town and Country van with Missouri handicapped plates: A-G-3-9-G.
Her family tells police she doesn't have any special medical issues or a history of wandering.
Anyone with information is asked to call St. Peters Police at 636-278-2222.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois transit advocates are proposing a plan to fix the state's deteriorating roads through a new tax that would raise the price at the gas pump, The Associated Press has learned.
The Transportation for Illinois Coalition says the $800 million dollar a year plan is necessary to get a toehold on needed repairs to roads, bridges and rails.
The influential group is pushing legislation to replace the current 19 cents per gallon motor fuel tax with a 9.5 percent wholesale tax. It would add about 14 cents to today's price of a gallon of gas.
Coalition co-chairman Doug Whitley laid out the plan for the AP in advance of making it public.
The proposal would also increase vehicle licensing fees.
Bill Fleishli of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association says the fuel tax would hurt business.
Wednesday, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney announced charges against a suspect in one Tuesday night shooting.
Davonta Coleman faces several charges after allegedly shooting six people outside of a north St. Louis home around 10:30 Tuesday night. The victims told police that two cars stopped in front of the house and Coleman got out of one vehicle and started shooting.
The incident could be the result of a dispute between two families, but the investigation continues.
UPDATE at 4:05 PM: Police say that James Moon was last seen Tuesday afternoon in Lincoln County, MO. Officers believe he could be trying to get to Iowa.
A St. Charles County family is asking for help to find an elderly man who has been missing for a day.
81-year-old James Moon has been missing since 5:30 Tuesday morning. He was last seen at his house near Highway Y in O'Fallon, Missouri. Moon suffers from dementia and is diabetic. His family says he is does not drive and is probably disoriented.
Moon is 5'10" and weighs 140 pounds. He could be wearing blue jeans and a khaki colored cap. It is possible he is trying to hitchhike to his old home in Ste. Genevieve.
Anyone with information should call the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department at 636-949-0809.