“Joe has been a tremendous asset to us. We will miss him, but we are thrilled with this new opportunity,” said Kelly Dyer Fry, Editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications group. “We are looking forward to working with the Gazette's newsroom under Joe's leadership. It also opens up career advancement and mobility opportunities for our staff that we have not had in the past. Having three newspapers within the same family will afford myriad partnership possibilities.”
McKibben, who will serve as chairman of The Gazette organization, noted the region's diversity and potential growth as key motivations for the acquisition. He also intends to make immediate improvements to the newspaper.
Christian Anschutz, who will serve as vice chairman of The Gazette, said, “Readers will see rather immediate results of our commitment.”
The acquisition is the latest among industry deals by prominent business leaders who have found attractive investment opportunity within the newspaper sector.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway last year bought the Omaha World-Herald. And Little Rock, Ark., financier Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., is a partner in Halifax Media Holdings which bought 16 newspapers from The New York Times.
Buffet earlier this year also acquired 63 newspapers formerly owned by Richmond, Va.-based Media General Inc.
Stephens recently told Forbes magazine he was “very optimistic” about the newspaper business. “... professional content is going to be really, really important,” he said.