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Nowata Printing, community newspapers sold

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The owner of Nowata Printing Co. and several area community newspapers has found a buyer.

Phillips Media Group LLC’s acquisition of Bentonville, Ark.-based Community Publishers Inc. comes four months after the latter told employees and customers it was seeking a sale.

In the deal announced March 2, Phillips Media picks up Missouri newspapers Bolivar Herald-Free Press‎, Buffalo Reflex, Christian County Headliner News, Cedar County Republican, Nixa Xpress and The Marshfield Mail, as well as two others in Arkansas. Not included in the sale are seven newspapers CPI operates in Oklahoma, according to a news release.

Santa Fe, N.M.-based merger and acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray represented CPI in the deal. Terms of the acquisition were undisclosed.

Phillips Media also purchased CPI’s Nowata print operations in Springfield - at Partnership Industrial Center - and in Nowata, Okla. A Nowata printing plant in Harrison, Ark., was not mentioned in the release.

The Phillips family behind Phillips Media Group has been involved in the newspaper industry since the 1970s, owning publications in Mountain Home, Yellville, Berryville and Eureka Springs, Ark., as well as Nevada, Marshall and Maryville in Missouri. Phillips Media Group LLC was formed Feb. 26, according to an Arkansas secretary of state filing. It was filed by Miramar Beach, Fla.-based real estate group Phillips Capital Partners.

“We are very excited to be returning to the newspaper markets in Arkansas and Missouri, where our family has a long history of running hometown newspapers that mean so much to their communities,” Phillips Media Group CEO Ryan Phillips said in the release. “We look forward to continuing (CPI’s) tradition of producing high-quality publications that make a difference to the residents of this area.”

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray President Owen Van Essen said Ryan Phillips’ father, Rupert, was an investor in newspaper ownership firm Halifax Media Group, which was purchased early this year by New Media Investment Group Inc. The CPI publications purchased by Phillips Media Group are the only ones it owns, Van Essen said.

The 33-year-old CPI employs roughly 300, President Mike Brown told SBJ in November. The company was founded in 1982 by Steve Trolinger and Jim Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, according to SBJ archives.[[In-content Ad]]

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