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Times to have new ownership after company sale

The Pahrump Valley Times will be under new ownership as part of a deal to sell its parent company, Stephens Media, to New York-based New Media Investment Group.

The $102.5 million cash deal includes Nye County-based newspapers the Times, Tonopah Times-Bonanza & Goldfield News, and The Mirror, as well as the Las Vegas Review-Journal in Clark County, the largest newspaper in the Stephens Media portfolio.

Stephens Media bought the Pahrump Valley Times in November 2002, and the Tonopah newspaper in May 2004.

The Mirror was acquired late last year during the purchase of the Times’ new building at 1570 E. Highway 372.

The Stephens Media purchase agreement to one of the nation’s largest publishing companies was announced Thursday in a company email to staff.

New Media, with offices in New York City and Pittsford, N.Y., currently operates 133 daily newspapers, 250 paid weekly publications nationwide. New Media’s larger holdings include the Providence (R.I.) Journal, the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune and the Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal.

New Media, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol NEWM, is just a year old.

It is a part of a company that holds GateHouse Media and Dow Jones Local Media group publications, and has been actively acquiring newspapers in recent months.

New Media has spent $457 million on local media properties, including $280 million for the Florida-based Halifax Media Group in November.

Halifax was backed by Stephens Capital Partners, whose CEO is Arkansas billionaire Warren Stephens. The Stephens family owns privately held Stephens Media.

In a statement, New Media CEO Michael Reed said the purchase of Stephens Media gives the company several new markets. He said New Media would introduce “new digital initiatives” in those communities.

“The portfolio is anchored by an attractive set of print publications with a strong community focus, solid readership base and stable advertisers with limited customer concentration,” Reed said.

Stephens Media CEO Ed Moss said in a statement that New Media would be able to expand the company’s newspaper products.

“New Media is well positioned to build off of our company’s successes and lead the organization to new heights with their strong portfolio of print and digital products and services,” Moss said. “We have dedicated and talented employees that will prove to be great assets to the outstanding organization that New Media is building.”

New Media said it expects the transaction would close by the end of March.

Stephens Media entered 2014 with 11 daily newspapers, 64 weeklies, magazines and specialty publications and 100 websites in seven states, plus half-ownership of the Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC, publisher of four daily newspapers in that state.

The sale announced Thursday does not include the Stephens share of Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.

Pahrump Valley Times editor Arnold M. Knightly contributed to this report.

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