Fayetteville Publishing Co. has sold The Fayetteville Observer and its other businesses to GateHouse Media, LLC according to Gary Greene, Managing Director, Cribb Greene & Cope LLC who represented Fayetteville Publishing Co.

The sale ends the 93 years of local ownership by the family of the late Ashton Wilson Lilly.

The Observer, which is marking its 200th anniversary this year as North Carolina’s oldest newspaper, has been the largest independently owned newspaper in North Carolina and one of the largest remaining in the South through an era of consolidation in the newspaper business.

Charles Broadwell, the company’s president and publisher and a fourth-generation member of the ownership family, announced the news in a memo to employees.

“Our family owners and board members went through extensive discussions during the past year before making the difficult decision to sell the newspaper and accept GateHouse’s offer,” Broadwell said in his email.