There's a major ownership change involving Wisconsin's largest media company.
Journal Communications of Milwaukee and the Scripps Company of Cincinnati have agreed to merge their radio-and-T-V operations -- while spinning off their 14 newspapers into a separate public entity. The newspaper branch will be called the Journal Media Group, and will be based in Milwaukee where the state's largest newspaper -- the Journal Sentinel -- is located. The paper's community and digital products will be part of the new group, along with Scripps products which include the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Scripps will control the broadcast side from Cincinnati. That group will include W-T-M-J Radio and T-V in Milwaukee, plus other stations in 26 U-S markets. It will become the nation's fifth-largest T-V group. Journal C-E-O Steve Smith will stay on as the non-executive chairman of Journal Media. He says both companies see the move as a great "cultural fit" with great value. Scripps senior vice president Tim Stautberg becomes the C-E-O of Journal Media, as well as a director. Scripps C-E-O Richard Boehne remains in that role. Boards of both companies have okayed the deal. Stockholders and regulators must still give their blessing. Scripps shareholders would get 69-percent of the combined broadcasting group, and 59-percent of Journal Media. Journal stockholders would get the rest. Scripps stockholders also get a total of 60-million dollars in cash dividends. The changes are expected to be finalized next year.