Owner of several Kansas newspapers to merge with USA Today owner

Posted: Updated:

Two of the country's largest newspaper companies have agreed to combine in the latest media deal driven by the industry's struggles with a decline of printed editions.

   GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, is buying USA Today owner Gannett Co. for $12.06 a share in cash and stock, or about $1.4 billion. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S. along with more than 300 weeklies.

  GateHouse publishes a number of newspapers in Kansas,  including the Topeka Capital Journal,  the Hutchinson News,  the Salina Journal,  the Hays Daily News,  the Garden City Telegram and the Dodge City Globe.  

   The companies said Monday that the deal will cut up to $300 million in costs annually and help speed up a digital transformation.

   Newspaper consolidation has picked up as local papers find it hard to grow digital businesses and replace declines in print ads and circulation. Hundreds of papers have closed, and newsrooms have slashed jobs.