The Dayton Daily News operates in collaboration with WHIO-TV and WHIO radio, and was the first newspaper purchased by Cox Enterprises founder James M. Cox. JENNIFER BRETT / JBRETT@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cox to buy Dayton, two other Ohio papers, preserving daily publication

Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises on Monday announced it has reached an agreement to buy three Ohio newspapers, including the Dayton Daily News, that it previously agreed to sell as part of a deal to sell the company’s television stations.

The agreement solves a problem triggered by a recent federal court decision that threatened the ability of the Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and (Butler County) Journal-News to publish as daily papers. Cox Enterprises traces its roots to Dayton and founder James M. Cox’s purchase of what was then known as the Dayton Evening News in 1898.

“Dayton, Ohio, is a big part of the Cox DNA. It’s where our family is from and where our company was founded,” Alex Taylor, president and CEO of Cox Enterprises, said in a news release. “So, it is with great excitement that we continue publishing these papers as we have for more than 100 years.”

Terms of the sale were not announced. The deal is expected to close in a matter of weeks.

In February 2019, Cox Enterprises announced it would sell a majority stake in its 14 television stations and the Ohio newspapers to an affiliate of Apollo Global Management. Cox retained a minority stake in the new company, which is called Cox Media Group.

The Dayton Daily News will once again become a part of the Cox Enterprise’s family of companies under a deal announced Monday.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Daily News for years operated as one company in the same building as WHIO-TV and WHIO radio, with shared news-gathering teams. The joint ownership was grandfathered in under Federal Communications Commission media ownership rules.

But after the sale, a federal ruling threatened to put an end to the papers’ ability to publish daily print editions. The FCC in January granted Cox Media Group 60 days to find a buyer for the newspapers.

“These newspapers are important assets to the communities they serve, and we are thrilled to have found a partner with a long and successful history of promoting freedom of the press and preserving print journalism,” said CMG CEO Kim Guthrie.

Cox Enterprises, whose media holdings include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, remains an investor in Cox Media Group. Sonji Jacobs, a spokeswoman for Cox Enterprises, said the company “wants to partner as much as possible to make sure both companies are successful.”

“Cox is dedicated to fight for and the preservation of the freedom of the press,” she said. “We plan to operate the papers for the foreseeable future.”

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