The Press of Atlantic City will be sold to Warren Buffett's BH Media Group by ABARTA, a private holding company based in Pittsburgh, Pa., interim Publisher James W. Hopson announced today.
BH Media Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Company, with headquarters in Omaha, Neb. The group now owns 30 daily and weekly newspapers in 10 states.
The Press of Atlantic City is a 67,000 daily and 77,000 Sunday circulation newspaper that serves Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean counties. The newspaper's Web site, pressofAtlanticCity.com , reaches 700,000 unique visitors each month. The Bitzer/Taylor family, owners of ABARTA, has owned The Press since 1951.
Mark Blum will become publisher of The Press when BH Media takes ownership, expected in August. Blum, who is now publisher of the Morning News in Florence, S.C., was controller for The Press from 1989 to 1993.
"I couldn't be more excited about getting the opportunity to return to Atlantic City and work with such an outstanding team of employees at The Press of Atlantic City," Blum said. "The Press is one of New Jersey's finest newspapers, and its digital presence is dominant. All of us at BH Media are very excited to become associated with a newspaper and a community like The Press and South Jersey," Blum said.
Blum added, "The South Jersey region is a vibrant place to be right now, and we look forward to serving the business community and continuing to be essential to readers. The Press' print and web platforms are excellent, innovative vehicles to do both."
BH Media has been purchasing small- and medium-sized, community-oriented newspapers since December 2011. The home page on its Web site states 'A sense of community. That's what BH Media provides."
"We're delighted to have The Press of Atlantic City join our growing family of newspapers," said Terry Kroeger, CEO of BH Media Group. "We look forward to the opportunity to continue the tradition of community-minded journalism carried on by the Bitzer/Taylor family for over 50 years. We also want to welcome the Atlantic City employees to our company and are looking forward to working with them. We are pleased to have Mark Blum, who has done a great job for us as publisher at the Morning News, take on this new role as publisher of The Press of Atlantic City."
John Bitzer III, president and CEO of ABARTA said, "We are very pleased that BH Media will be the new owner of The Press. Their sterling reputation for journalistic integrity and astute business management should be welcome by the market, and by the people at The Press. The Bitzer/Taylor family is very proud of our long stewardship of The Press, and we wish BH Media every success as we turn the reins over to them."
Hopson said, "BH Media is not only acquiring a fine newspaper franchise, but also a great group of newspaper professionals who have shown a willingness to adapt to the challenges of newspapering in a quickly changing environment. This is a transaction from which the buyer, the seller, the employees and the customers all benefit."
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.