Community Media Enterprises, a San Diego-based media company formed in January by the former publisher of California magazine and venture capitalists, has acquired 24 free-distribution weekly newspapers with a combined circulation of 424,000 from Scripps Howard of Cincinnati.
Though neither party would divulge the sale price, one informed industry source said the newspapers, all of which are in the Los Angeles basin and Orange County, are worth about $15 million. CME also received a printing press in South Gate as part of the deal.
Largest of the newspapers acquired is the Fullerton News Tribune with a circulation of about 42,000. Among the other free weeklies acquired were the Alhambra Post Advocate and the Montebello News.
Chief executive of CME is Richard Trent, 41, who was California magazine publisher until January. From 1982 to 1985, Trent was president of Harte-Hanks Communications Inc.'s San Diego operations. In that capacity, Trent was publisher of the Chula Vista Star-News, then a Harte-Hanks property.
The Scripps Howard purchase was CME's first acquisition since Trent formed the company in January with financial partners Burr, Egan & Deleage and Regional Financial Enterprises. The company plans to make at least two more purchases over the next year, Trent said.