The Eau Claire Press Company, a fourth-generation and fifth-generation family-owned media company with a daily newspaper, a weekly agricultural newspaper, a shopper product, a commercial printing division, digital and marketing services is being sold according to John Cribb, Cribb, Greene & Cope. The buyer of The Eau Claire Press Company’s assets is family-owned Adams Publishing Group, based in Minneapolis, Minn., and chaired by Stephen Adams.
The transaction is scheduled to close Thursday, June 1, 2017, for an undisclosed amount. The sale was announced in a joint statement of the two companies.
Newspapers included in the sale include The Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI), The Country Today (Eau Claire, WI), Leader Printing, a commercial printing division, and their associated websites.
“After a 130 years of family ownership, selling The Eau Claire Press Company was not an easy decision for the Graaskamp and Atkinson families,” said Pieter Graaskamp, president and CEO. “However, at a board strategic planning session, we discussed the long-term viability of an independently owned family media company. 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 Atkinson and Graaskamp families was a challenge," he stated. “There are a number of outstanding suitors across the country; 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 families,” Graaskamp said.
Adams Publishing Group owns and operates newspapers and printing plants in 11 states and is a division of the Adams Office, which 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 The Eau Claire Press Company to our family of companies,” said Stephen Adams. “Through generations of stewardship, The Eau Claire Press Company has sought to be considered one of the most respected newspapers and digital companies in the country. We salute the Atkinson and Graaskamp families and all of the their associates for their fine work, and look forward to a prosperous future.”
Graaskamp said, "Our families have taken great pride in our publications and in the talented, extraordinary employees who have built the company. We felt that the new owner of the company needed to reflect the families’ value of support for community journalism and the staffs that produce it. The Adams family shares our belief in a bright future for the community newspaper business, one that includes the printed products as well as exciting products and services made possible in our ever-emerging digital world,” Graaskamp said.
All of The Eau Claire Press Company’s employees will be offered employment and benefits with the Adams Publishing Group.
"Throughout our five generations of family newspaper ownership," Graaskamp continued, "we have appreciated the privilege of serving the communities of west-central Wisconsin, and we continue to be extremely grateful for their support.
Pieter Graaskamp will continue as President and CEO of The Eau Claire Press Company, a role he has held for more than 14 years. Dan Graaskamp will continue as VP of Sales. Mike Carlson will continue Director of Circulation & Marketing
Cribb, Greene & Cope represented The Eau Claire Press Company in the sale.