The national newspaper industry is dominated by three papers: The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, from New York Times Co., (NYSE: NYT), Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI) and News Corp. (NYSE: NWSA), respectively. There are several large newspapers that are standalone companies, either public or private. However, most of the balance of the nation’s largest dailies are owned by three public companies: Gannett, Tronc Inc. (NASDAQ: TRNC) and McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI). And a few large papers owned by each of the three public companies are critical to their futures.
Although the three public newspaper chains all own a large portfolio of properties, each has a small number that represent a critical mass of overall corporate revenue. If some of these falter, at any of the companies, overall earnings become pressured.
Papers that do not suffer from the sort of quarter-to-quarter financial pressure public newspaper companies do include some of the largest local newspapers in America. The Minneapolis Star Tribune is owned by a local billionaire, Glen Taylor. The Boston Globe is owned by a billionaire as well, successful hedge fund manager John Henry. The Washington Post is owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. Local billionaires own or control the New York Daily News, Las Vegas Journal News, Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News and Salt Lake Tribune as well.
The Dallas Morning News is owned by A.H. Belo Corp. (NYSE: AHC), which does not own any other large papers.
There are the 22 papers that are most important, financially, to the public company newspaper industry.
Gannett’s largest properties are the Arizona Republic (based in Phoenix), Louisville Courier-Journal, Detroit Free Press, Cincinnati Enquirer, Milwaukee Journal, Indianapolis Star, Nashville Tennesean and recently purchased Bergen Record.
McClatchy’s big papers are the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee, Charlotte Observer, (Raleigh) News and Observer and Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Tronc’s papers are the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun and San Diego Union-Tribune.
A small foundation for such a large industry.