Gatehouse Media filed last week for an IPO that will enable it to buy and develop clustered “hyperlocal” media properties in the Northeast, Western, Northern, Midwest, Southern Midwest and Atlantic regions, including newspapers, directories, traders, shoppers and locally focused websites.
Gatehouse, which operates in 285 markets in 17 states, is currently the leading publisher of community papers in New England. After a $460 million spending spree this spring that bought out Community Newspapers Inc and Enterprise Newspapers It literally surrounds Boston (and The Boston Globe). Altogether, Gatehouse has 231 weeklies, 117 shoppers, 75 dailies and more than 230 related websites, serves over 125,000 business advertisers. In addition, the company haso opportunistically produced niche publications that address specific local market interests such as recreation, sports, healthcare and real estate. Over the last 12 months, it has created over 90 niche publications.
The Internet is seen as a special opportunity. In New England, the company has developed WickedLocal as a possible prototype for the entire chain. In June, the company quietly named Bill Blevins as Internet head. Blevins had previously run Internet operations for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. in Birmingham.