Jones Media, a fourth-generation family-owned media company with three daily and several non-daily community newspapers, tourism-related products and services and a digital marketing solutions agency, has been sold according to Gary Greene, Cribb, Greene & Cope. The buyer of Jones Media's assets is family-owned Adams Publishing Group, based in Minneapolis, Minn., and chaired by Steve Adams.
The transaction closed Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, for an undisclosed amount. The sale was announced in a joint statement of the two companies.
Newspapers included in the sale include The Greeneville Sun (Greeneville, Tenn.), The Daily Post-Athenian (Athens, Tenn.), The Daily Times (Maryville, Tenn.), The Newport Plain Talk (Newport, Tenn.), The Rogersville Review (Rogersville, Tenn.), the News-Herald (Loudon County, Tenn.), The Connection (Tellico Village, Tenn.), The Advocate & Democrat (Monroe County, Tenn.),The Herald-News (Dayton, Tenn.), the Watauga Democrat (Boone, N.C.), The Mountain Times (Watauga County, N.C.), Ashe Mountain Times (West Jefferson, N.C.), The Avery Journal-Times (Avery County, N.C.) and The Blowing Rocket (Blowing Rock, N.C.).
Jones Media's holdings also include two other major operations:
Touring Publications is based in Sevierville, Tenn., and serves the Great Smoky Mountains region and the southeastern United States with a multitude of print and digital publications, travel guides and services.
High Road Digital, based in Johnson City, Tenn., is a full-service digital marketing solutions firm serving the needs of businesses in eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina and beyond.
“After 100 years of family ownership, selling Jones Media was not an easy decision for our family,” said Gregg Jones, president and CEO.
“However, there was no clear succeeding generation of our family working in the business, so we came to the difficult decision nearly a year ago that selling was the best option for our employees and the
communities we serve."
"Finding the right company to succeed the Jones family was a challenge," he stated. “There are a number of outstanding media companies across America; but, when we met the members of the Adams family, we felt from the beginning that they would be an excellent choice to succeed our family,” Jones said.
Adams Publishing Group owns and operates newspapers and printing plants in 11 states and is a division of an Adams company that owns and operates a number of other businesses, including Adams Outdoor, Fairway Outdoor, Adams Radio Group, Good Sam, Camping World, and wineries and vineyards in the United States and Europe.
“We’re very excited to welcome Jones Media to our family of companies,” said Steve Adams.
“Through generations of stewardship, Jones Media is considered one of the premier newspaper and digital companies in the country. We salute the Jones family and all of the Jones associates for their fine work, and look forward to a prosperous future.”
Jones said, "My siblings and I take great pride in the quality of our publications and in the talented, extraordinary employees who have built the company. We felt deeply that the new owner of the company needed to reflect the family's value system and support for community newspapers and their staffs.
“The Adams family shares our own family’s passionate belief in a bright future for the community newspaper business, one that includes ink on paper as well as one that aggressively embraces the opportunities for new, exciting products and services made possible in our ever-emerging digital world,” Jones said.
All of Jones Media’s full-time employees will be offered employment and benefits with the Adams Publishing Group.
"Throughout the four generations of our family's newspaper ownership," Jones continued, "we have appreciated more than we can easily express the privilege of serving the communities of which we are a part, and we continue to be extremely grateful for their support.
"For this reason, in considering the sale of the company, it has been very important to us that both our family and the Adams family advocate newspapers' being engaged with our communities in every way — from offering our readers relevant content to help them live better, more enjoyable lives, to pursuing positive results and success for our advertisers, to participating in the civic life of the communities we serve with our time, talent and money, and more,” he added.
Gregg Jones will continue as president and CEO of Jones Media, a role he has held for more than 15 years, and will succeed his late father, John M. Jones, III, as publisher of The Greeneville Sun.
Additionally, Steve Adams and his family have asked Gregg Jones to assume a greater leadership position within their overall rapidly-growing newspaper publishing operations nationally.
“I have accepted the Adams' offer," Jones concluded, "for which I am grateful and deeply complimented."
Cribb, Greene & Cope of Charlottesville, Va., represented Jones Media, Inc., in the sale.