The Daily Times has new owners.
The John M. Jones family of Greeneville, Tenn., reached an agreement in principle to purchase the newspaper from parent company Horvitz Newspapers LLC. The move was announced July 1 in a story on the websites of both the Daily Times and the Greeneville Sun, flagship publication of Jones Media Group.
Longtime publisher Max Crotzer also announced his retirement pending the sale to Blount County Publishers, LLC. Peter Horvitz, president and CEO of Horvitz Newspapers, LLC would not disclose the purchase price. “It’s a private transaction, so we’re not going to disclose the purchase price,” Horvitz said. Horvitz did say all employees are to be hired and that the purchase should be competed by August.
Horvitz made the announcement personally to Daily Times staffers during a called 10 a.m. meeting at the newspaper on July 1. Gregg K. Jones, president and CEO of Jones Media, Inc., and Blount County Publishers, LLC made the announcement to staffers at the Greeneville Sun, according to the Greeneville Sun story.
In an interview with Blount Today, Horvitz said he and the board did not make the decision to sell lightly.
“It was a difficult decision. We have loved owning the Daily Times,” said Horvitz. “We’ve owned it for 16 years. The paper has been close to my heart, but we felt this was the time, and we had a great opportunity to sell the Daily Times to a great Tennessee family with a great commitment to community journalism.”
Horvitz said he was not looking for someone to purchase the paper but rather he was looking for someone to partner with when he approached Gregg Jones several months ago.
“Our conversations started on the basis of seeing what we could do. We were looking to see from a location standpoint … if there a possibility of printing, joint selling of advertisement and news sharing,” he said.
Horvitz said Jones became more excited with the opportunities associated with partnering. “He became so excited in fact, he decided they might be interested in purchasing the Daily Times,” Horvitz said. “They approached me about that and as a result of those discussions, we ultimately agreed to sell the Daily Times to Jones Media. It has been happening over the last several months.”
Horvitz said that it was important to him to “very carefully and clearly communicate” to the Daily Times employees the opportunity in being part of Jones Media. “I recognize change is difficult and when you have change, there is apprehension,” Horvitz said. “I assured them when Jones does take ownership, our employees will be hired, and that it really will be business as usual.”
Gregg Jones told Blount Today that the purchase made sense because his family owns newspapers throughout East Tennessee.
“When I started talking to Peter about working together, that led to our visiting and seeing what was going on, and it made perfect sense for them to be part of our organization,” he said.
Regarding any changes that might be made at the Daily Times, Jones said, “We are examining all opportunities at this point, and we’re going to do whatever makes most sense.”
Jones said the press at the Daily Times is similar to the one at the Greeneville Sun. “We’ll be looking closely at the press. The press in Maryville is similar to the press we have in Greeneville, so we’ll be looking at that.”
The Jones family is the owner of 13 community newspapers and nine travel/tourism guides published in East Tennessee and western North Carolina.