For over 108 years the Gaylord and Dickinson families have controlled The Oklahoma Publishing Company, locally known as OPUBCO. According to Christy Everest, Chairman and CEO of OPUBCO, that will change in early October when all of the stock of OPUBCO will be sold to The Anschutz Corporation, owned by Denver-based businessman Philip Anschutz. The Anschutz Corporation will be acquiring all the assets which OPUBCO owns or has an interest in, including: The Oklahoman, NewsOK.com, the corporate headquarters building, the printing facilities and all associated real estate; Pavestone LLC, headquartered in Dallas, a leading manufacturer of concrete pavers, retaining walls, and other landscaping materials with manufacturing plants in 18 cities; De Wafelbakkers LLC, a fast growing breakfast food company based in Little Rock, with manufacturing plants in Arkansas and Georgia; The Broadmoor Hotel, a 5-star, 5-diamond 744-room resort in Colorado Springs, set at the foot of the Rocky Mountains featuring championship golf, world class spa and a full service tennis program; Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway Company, the world’s highest railway that travels to the top of Pike’s Peak; the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa, a 500-room resort hotel, spa and 18-hole golf course located east of Austin along the Colorado River; numerous other real estate holdings in Oklahoma and Colorado; water rights underlying the Greenland Ranch in Douglas County, Colorado consisting of 1.5 million acre feet of subsurface water; an aviation company in Oklahoma City; a 100 piece collection of artwork by the Western Masters; and an interest in Suddenlink Communications, the nation’s seventh largest cable broadband company serving approximately 1.4 million residential customers and thousands of commercial customers in the southwest region of the country, among other items. “Mr. Anschutz approached us with a unique offer in early June. Our Board of Directors had to consider his proposal seriously and from several different perspectives – that of our 254 supportive and patient shareholders, our thousands of employees, the communities in which we operate, the legacies of the Gaylord and Dickinson families, and the general wellbeing of OPUBCO itself. This transaction will not cause OPUBCO to disappear - rather, only the ownership will change. There are amazing similarities between the interests and conservative values of The Anschutz Corporation and those of OPUBCO,” said Mrs. Everest. “Mr. Anschutz’s stewardship of OPUBCO’s properties will carry the company’s 108 year history well into the future. His roots lie in ranching and oil and gas exploration, and his holdings have expanded into publishing and hotel properties. His interests are remarkably consistent with the interests developed by our family over the last three generations, right down to his love of the West and western values.” Mr. Anschutz, originally from Russell, Kansas, is a graduate of the University of Kansas. Today, his diversified company has worldwide investments in oil and gas exploration and development, wind energy and electric transmission, real estate, ranching and agriculture, lodging and hospitality, transportation and telecommunications, newspaper and internet publishing, and entertainment including sports, film production, and movie theaters. Commenting on the acquisition, Mr. Anschutz said, “I have enjoyed getting to know Christy Everest and her team. I am very pleased with this transaction and my new affiliation with the OPUBCO businesses and their respective communities, and I look forward to carrying on the legacy of excellence created by the Gaylord and Dickinson families.” Gary Pierson, currently Chief Operating Officer of OPUBCO, will become OPUBCO’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Mike Collison will serve as OPUBCO’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “I am at the same time happy and sad about this change,” said Pierson, “I will miss my direct affiliation and day-to-day interaction with the Gaylord and Dickinson families and all of the shareholders who have supported OPUBCO for so many generations. On the other hand, it is a good day for our employees, shareholders, and communities. With a single owner the quality of Mr. Anschutz, OPUBCO will have the opportunity to become stronger. Mr. Anschutz and his executive team in Denver are people of the highest character and outstanding businessmen. It’s really a good fit.” All current employees of OPUBCO Communications Group, which publishes The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, will maintain their normal responsibilities. Chris Reen will continue with his duties as President of the Communications Group and Publisher of The Oklahoman, and Vice President of News and Editor Kelly Dyer Fry will oversee news gathering. Mr. Anschutz has asked Mrs. Everest to remain on The Oklahoman’s editorial board. The Oklahoman will operate independently of any other newspapers owned by The Anschutz Corporation. All of the management team of OPUBCO’s luxury hotel in Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor, will be retained, including its President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Bartolin. The Broadmoor will not become part of any other hotel operations or chains and will not be flagged with a name different than it has had since its opening in 1918. Mrs. Everest is the third member of the Gaylord family to lead OPUBCO. She assumed the role of Chairman and CEO upon the death of her father, Edward L. Gaylord. OPUBCO was founded in 1903 by Mrs. Everest’s’ grandfather, Edward K. Gaylord and Ray Dickinson, later of California. Mr. Anschutz is also known for his philanthropic efforts, which are carried out primarily through The Anschutz Foundation. The most visible of these efforts is the Anschutz Medical Campus located in Denver. Mrs. Everest said in conversations with Mr. Anschutz it became clear that he intends to be a strong supporter of Oklahoma. Likewise, “the Gaylord family intends to continue to support our community and state as we have done since . . . well . . . before Oklahoma even became a state. We are not leaving Oklahoma; this is and will remain our home.” Closing of the transaction is contingent upon receipt of certain regulatory approvals. Details of the transaction remain private. For more information related to this story, see this weekend’s Sunday Oklahoman.
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