ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Pulitzer Inc. shareholders on Friday agreed to sell the company to Lee Enterprises Inc. for $1.46 billion, a move that would end a family-run newspaper company founded 127 years ago.
The transaction was expected to close as early as Friday, St. Louis-based Pulitzer said in a news release. Shareholders gathered in New York to finalize the merger announced in January.
Lee shareholders earlier agreed to the deal that will create the nation's seventh-largest newspaper company in terms of circulation and fourth-largest in terms of number of newspapers. Lee will assume $306 million of Pulitzer debt.
By adding Pulitzer's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Arizona Daily Star, 12 other dailies, the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis and other publications, Davenport, Iowa-based Lee will own 52 daily newspapers and a joint interest in six others and publish more than 300 weekly newspapers, shoppers and specialty publications.
The company's newspapers will have combined circulation in 23 states of 1.7 million daily and two million Sunday. The combined business will have revenue of $1.1 billion based on 2004 figures.
Pulitzer chose Lee over Gannett Co., the nation's biggest newspaper publisher whose 101 U.S. newspapers include USA Today.
Lee and Pulitzer have said the deal would mesh two newspaper publishers with similar cultures and values, beginning with their long histories. Lee is 114 years old and Pulitzer dates to 1878, when Joseph Pulitzer merged the St. Louis Dispatch and the Post.