Prairie Mountain Media buys Greeley Tribune

This story has been updated to include comments from Swift Communications President Bob Brown.

GREELEY — Prairie Mountain Media has purchased the Greeley Tribune for an undisclosed amount, adding to the company’s near-total domination of the newspaper market along the Front Range.

The deal, announced Monday morning, brings the Tribune from Swift Communications Inc. under the same ownership umbrella as the the Denver Post, Boulder Daily Camera, Loveland Reporter-Herald, Fort Morgan Times, Sterling Journal Advocate, Longmont Times-Call, Estes Park Trail-Gazette, Broomfield Enterprise and a group of other weekly papers. Swift had owned the Tribune for 43 years.

The deal is scheduled to close March 1.

Prairie Mountain president and CEO Al Manzi told BizWest no changes to staffing or operations will be made until he meets with Greeley Tribune staffers next week.

Swift Communications President Bob Brown said Tribune publisher Bryce Jacobson will remain with Swift, and the company will retain its agricultural publications and shared services division that operated out of the Tribune building. Those divisions will be housed in rental space elsewhere in Greeley or along the Front Range. Swift also owns several mountain properties, including the Vail Daily, Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Craig Daily Press, Rifle Citizen Telegram, Eagle Valley Enterprise, Sky-Hi News in Granby, Summit Daily News in Frisco and a printing plant at Gypsum.

“We’ve been looking at the future of the Greeley market and how that would win in the future, and decided that we need more scale. It’s difficult in these what I call suburban markets without a sizable operation,” Brown said.

Prairie Mountain is a subsidiary of Media News Group, a company controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital and owner of the Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News, St. Paul Pioneer Press and several other local daily and weekly newspapers. The Fort Collins Coloradoan, owned by Gannett Co. (Nasdaq: GCI) is now the only remaining daily newspaper along the northern Front Range not owned by Prairie Mountain. Gannett merged with the owner of GateHouse Media last year in a $1.1 billion deal that created the largest newspaper chain in the country. In addition to the Coloradoan, Gannett owns the Windsor Beacon, the Pueblo Chieftain, The Ag Journal and  the Tribune-Democrat in LaJunta, the Bent County Democrat and The Fowler Tribune in Colorado.

The Tribune laid off its two high school sports reporters in early December, saying it did not have the financial support to continue covering prep games in person.

Prairie Mountain has a standing agreement with BizWest to license business news and content for its publications.

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