Scripps agrees to sell Dallas Community Newspapers to Lionheart

Tue, November 10, 1998 by Mark Kroeger

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The E.W. Scripps Company has agreed to sell its Dallas Community Newspaper Group to Lionheart Holdings LLC, subject to the signing of a definitive agreement.The Dallas Community Newspaper Group includes the Plano (Texas) Star-Courier, published five days a week, and seven non-daily newspapers that circulate in suburban Dallas. The group was acquired by Scripps from Harte-Hanks Communications in 1997, along with four daily newspapers in Texas and one in South Carolina.Lionheart Holdings, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is a 39-masthead community newspaper concern formed by Richard L. Connor and John E. Coots in partnership with Weiss, Peck & Greer’s Private Equity Group and Waller-Sutton Media Partners, L.P. “The Star-Courier and its family of non-dailies are solid, well-managed newspapers that are established and respected in the communities they serve,” said Willliam R. Burleigh, president and chief executive officer for Scripps. “Although fine newspapers, they are not part of our strategic focus. We feel it’s best to put the Dallas Community Newspaper Group in the hands of someone who can better help it realize its full potential.”“I don’t think we could have found a better new owner than Richard Connor,” Burleigh added. “His reputation in the industry as an operator of strong, vibrant community newspapers is impeccable.”Non-daily newspapers in the Dallas Community Newspaper Group include The Allen American, Coppell Gazette, Lewisville Leader, The McKinney Messenger, The Mesquite News and Frisco Life. “These newspapers offer Lionheart a chance to further solidify our base in North Texas,” Connor said. “We live here and work here. As a result, we believe we will be good stewards of these local franchises.”The transaction is subject to federal government approval under terms of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.The E.W. Scripps Company operates 20 daily newspapers; nine network-affiliated television stations; two TV networks, Home & Garden Television and the Food Network; a TV programmer, Cinetel Productions; United Media, a worldwide syndicator and licensor of news features and comics; and publishes independent Yellow Pages directories.