After a half-century of ownership of North Scott Press, Inc., the Tubbs family of Eldridge has sold three eastern Iowa newspapers to 37-year-old J. Louis “Louie” Mullen of Buffalo, Wyoming according to John Cribb of Cribb, Cope & Potts who represented Bill and Linda Tubbs.
Included in the sale are:
The North Scott Press of Eldridge, Iowa’s largest paid circulating weekly news-paper, first published in 1968, where Bill Tubbs has been publisher since 1971;
The Wilton-Durant Advocate News of Wilton, the merged publication of the Wilton Advocate and Durant News, which has been publishing since 1894, and part of the Tubbs organization since 1980; and
The West Liberty Index, the merged publication of the West Liberty Enterprise and West Liberty Index, first published in 1868, which the Tubbses purchased in 2018.
The search for new owners included potential buyers in the local communities, as well as nationally, according to John Cribb, of Cribb, Cope & Potts, of Hele-na, Mont., who represented Bill and Linda Tubbs in the sale.
The sale will become effective Sept. 1. Terms were not disclosed.
“We believe the future is in good hands with an owner who understands the value of independent, community journalism,” said publisher Bill Tubbs.
Mullen commented, “Bill and Linda Tubbs have a long tradition of operating great community newspapers. I’m a firm believer that your community news-paper is a strong and independent voice that reflects the community. The Tubbses have made it their life’s work to assure your communities have a trusted voice in the newspaper and I intend to honor that tradition.”
The acquisitions will increase Mullen’s ownership in Iowa to six newspapers, also including the Harlan Tribune, Red Oak Express, and Glenwood Opinion-Tribune, all in southwest Iowa.
Mullen additionally owns weeklies in Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon and Michigan.
Mullen’s representative, Joshua Byers, of Harlan, will be in the local communities this week to meet the staffs and assist with the transition. It is the new owner’s intent to retain all current staff.
“Bill and Linda have assembled a great team and have a reputation for being good to their employees,” said Byers, who is a board member with the Iowa Newspaper Foundation and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.
When the transaction is completed, Linda Tubbs will be fully retired. Bill Tubbs will continue his “Impressions” column and contribute articles and photos for -The North Scott Press.
The Tubbs family was represented by John Cribb of Cribb, Cope & Potts. CCP is a leading merger and acquisition firm with offices in Montana, California and Arkansas.