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Pasadena Firm to Buy 11 Weeklies : Acquisition of L.A. Papers Will Quadruple Circulation

December 17, 1986|NANCY RIVERA BROOKS | Times Staff Writer

The owner of two small weekly newspapers in Pasadena and Altadena has agreed to acquire the 11 Los Angeles weekly newspapers owned by Meredith Corp., including the Wilshire Press and the Hollywood Independent, the two companies are scheduled to announce today.

The transaction more than quadruples the size of National Media Inc., giving it a combined circulation of 260,000. Its current newspapers, the Pasadena Weekly and the Altadena Weekly, have circulation of 58,000.

Terms of the deal, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year, were not released.

"Our understanding is that we will be, on our first day, one of the largest publishers of weekly newspapers in California," said Stephen C. Laxineta, recently named chief executive of National Media.

Meredith, publisher of Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes & Gardens, is selling its weekly newspapers because it has decided to focus on magazine and book publishing, a spokeswoman for the Des Moines, Iowa, company said.

In a separate deal, Meredith is selling 11 weeklies in the San Jose area to Donnelly Newspapers, which is headed by former Meredith Newspapers Publisher Terry Donnelly.

The newspapers are profitable and are "very well accepted in their communities," the Meredith spokeswoman said.

The 11 local weeklies being sold are the Wilshire Press, Hollywood Independent, Griffith Park News, Los Angeles City News, Los Angeles City Press, Los Feliz Hills News, Northwest Leader, Parkside Journal, West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Sun Living, Westlake Post and Wilshire Independent.

Meredith Newspapers date to 1923, when the Griffith Park News was founded. The group was bought by Meredith in 1973.

Pasadena Media, which recently changed its name to National Media, was organized in 1983 to acquire the Altadena Chronicle. It discontinued the Chronicle and began publishing the Pasadena Weekly and the Altadena Weekly.

The combined staffs of the two newspaper companies will total more than 50, but an undetermined number of layoffs will result because of overlapping jobs after the merger, Laxineta said. National Media also will do some hiring to fill gaps, he said.

Any changes in the look or content of the Meredith newspapers have not been decided, Laxineta said.

The newspapers, which are distributed free, practice an "intensely local kind of coverage" that large daily newspapers have a hard time providing, Laxineta said.

For example, the Meredith papers list activities at local senior citizens' centers and the military activities of children of local residents.

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