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It’s final: WDL bought out

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ERIC CORNELISON
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DALLAS - The acquisition of American Consolidated Media Inc., which includes the Waxahachie Daily Light and its sister papers, is final, announced Macquarie Media Group on Thursday, Feb 8.

All 40 local ACM newspapers which serve all or significant portions of nine regional communities in Texas and Oklahoma are now controlled by another country, even though Jeremy L. Halbreich, founder and chairman of the ACM board, said, 'This transaction is predicated on all of us (current staff) staying on to manage the business and it will give us the opportunity to aggressively expand and grow our group of local community newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma as well as throughout the United States.'

Halbriech ensured there would be no personnel or operational changes at any of ACM's former local newspapers.

In an article in The New Zealand Herald, MMG Managing Director Alex Harvey said, 'We have identified community newspapers as an asset class which meets our investment criteria, generating stable cash flows from predominantly local advertisers, with low dependence on circulation and classified advertising.'

MMG spent $80 million on the acquisition and, according to MMG Executive Chairman Tim Hughes, provides diversification to the group's existing assets which include ownership of 85 Australian regional radio licenses, a 60 percent interest in pay-TV provider Taiwan Broadband Communications and a 13.8 percent interest in Southern Cross Broadcasting.

MMG is an investment group listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with the objectives of acquiring, owning and managing a portfolio of media businesses globally with strong market position, stable earnings and potential for growth, according to its corporate web site.

Under MMG's overview, the investment horizon stated, 'Long-term holder of investments, except where the directors believe returns to stapled security holders will be optimized by divestment.'

The level of control statement under MMG's company overview page stated, 'Preferably controlling interests in investments, but at a minimum, having significant influence over the key strategic, commercial and financial decision of the investment.'

The publications in Ellis County now controlled by MMG are the WDL, Midlothian Mirror, Ennis Journal, Ellis County Chronicle, Alvarado Post, Italy News-Herald and specialty publications Homes Magazine, the W Magazine, and The Shopper.

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