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PULITZER PUBLISHING TO BUY PROVO HERALD

Pulitzer Publishing Co. has agreed to buy the stock of Scripps League Newspapers, including the Provo-based Daily Herald.

The purchase price for the deal, which should be completed this summer, could be between $230 million and $240 million. However, the final numbers will depend on the actual number of papers Pulitzer Publishing buys, since Scripps League retains the option to exclude three smaller dailies and two non-dailies from the deal.Pulitzer officials say the purchase will be funded with a combination of cash and borrowings.

Scripps League is a privately held publisher of 16 dailies, mostly in small cities in the Midwest and western United States. The company, which is not affiliated with E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, also publishes about 30 weekly newspapers and shoppers guides.

Pulitzer Publishing Co. currently publishes both the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and owns nine network-affiliated television stations and two radio stations in the United States.

Scripps League's five largest daily newspapers, which represent about two-thirds of its operating cash flow, will be included in the deal. Of those papers, the Daily Herald has the largest circulation with 32,500. Daily Herald Publisher Kirk Parkinson said that any changes that come from the deal won't be felt until later this year.

"We are really excited about this," Parkinson said. "We think that the change will be a real benefit to us. (Pulitzer Publishing) is an established company like the Scripps League. They're not dissimilar, they're just larger."

Though no decisions have been made as to staffing, Parkinson said he expects that day-to-day operations at the Daily Herald will remain much the same.

"Pulitzer Publishing has the same kind of approach to community-oriented newspapers, so we expect a continuation of the same philosophy we have had towards reporting and publishing," he said.

Michael Pulitzer, chairman and CEO of Pulitzer Publishing, said the move will give his company a "solid position in a very attractive segment of the publishing industry."

"It meets our key acquisition criteria: strong cash flows, good markets that enhance our geographic diversification and opportunities for further growth," Pulitzer said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.