Metro Newspapers, publisher of the Metro alt-weekly in San Jose, is buying four MainStreet Media Group newspapers: Santa Cruz Good Times, the Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times.
Terms were not announced.
Metro principal owner Dan Pulcrano told the San Jose Business Journal that there were multiple bidders for the properties and that his group paid for the purchase with private investment and other financing that he declined to describe. He said the papers he bought are profitable.
"We believe the South County is a very good area to be in, with a lot of potential growth," Pulcrano said.
Pulcrano said he plans to seek local investors for each of the titles to create additional bonds with those communities.
In Santa Cruz, Metro, which already owns the Santa Cruz Weekly, is acquiring its primary competitor, the 39-year-old weekly Good Times. Starting next week, the Weekly and Good Times will be combined into one publication under the title "Santa Cruz Good Times, incorporating the Santa Cruz Weekly."
Pulcrano told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that he would be retaining "the majority of both staffs," but declined to state who would be the editor of the new product.
Currently, Greg Archer is the editor of Good Times, which has a staff of 19; Steve Palopoli of the Santa Cruz Weekly. Good Times publisher Ron Slack told the Sentinel that he would "probably" not be retained.
"We're actually excited about the future of print," said Pulcrano. "It has shown tremendous resilience. Even during the last 20 years of digital media, weeklies seem to have been the survivors."
Slack told the Sentinel that once MainStreet Media sold its papers in San Diego in late 2013, he knew that Good Times was also on the market. He said that he tried to put together a local investment group to purchase Good Times, but was unsuccessful, partly because the Gilroy and Morgan Hill papers were to be part of any sale.
Here's the press release from Metro Newspapers.