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Heavyweight newspaper up for sale

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 28. 2012 9:16PM

The parent company of the Nashua Telegraph has put the newspaper and several weekly papers in New Hampshire up for sale, the firm's president has confirmed.

"It is a family-owned business and and the family has decided to exit the business," said Andrew Bickford, president of Independent Publications of Bryn Mayr, Pa. "The company will be discontinued altogether."

Privately held Independent is controlled by members of the family of the late William McLean, who died in 2011. It owns some two dozen titles.

In addition to The Telegraph, Independent Publications' holdings in New Hampshire includes the Bedford Journal, the Hollis Brookline Journal, the Merrimack Journal and Milford Cabinet.

Publishing assets of another company owned by IPI, McLean Communications Inc., based in Manchester, were sold to Yankee Publishing Inc. of Dublin on Friday.

McLean publishes New Hampshire Business Review, New Hampshire Magazine, New Hampshire Home and Parenting New Hampshire. Yankee is a family publishing business that produces some of New England's most well-known titles.

"I'm very excited to add them to our business, which for a longest time was just Yankee Magazine and the Old Farmer's Almanac," said Jamie Trowbridge, president of Yankee Publishing. "They're going to stay as McLean Communications, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yankee."

Trowbridge said Yankee is not pursuing purchase of the newspapers.

Bickford said Independent Publications expects to employ the services of a newspaper broker to handle the sale of its publications.

"We intend to," Bickford said. "This is a process that is just getting underway,"

Two years ago, the Telegraph shut down the presses at its Hudson facility and outsourced its printing work. Since January 2011, the paper has been printed by Seacoast Media Group, which owns the Portsmouth Herald. The move reportedly resulted in the layoff of 40 employees in the newspaper's press and mail rooms.

The Telegraph quoted its publisher, Terrence Williams, as saying the company will continue to publish its daily and weekly papers while a buyer is sought.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, an industry group that tracks newspaper circulation, the Telegraph had an average paid print circulation of 15,376 for its daily paper and 20,579 on Sunday for the six-month period ending Sept 30.

It also has 1,059 digital subscribers to its daily edition and 1,066 on Sunday.

The McLean family interests have owned the Telegraph for 45 years, the paper said.

Bickford said there is no timetable for consummation of the sale of Independent Publications' New Hampshire properties.

"It's a very measured process," he said.

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