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Shopper sold ...Local Pennypower sells to Central States Publishing

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

After owning it for only about six months, Harte-Hanks is divesting itself of Pennypower Shopping News, the Springfield shopper publication. Harte-Hanks, which also once owned KYTV, Channel 3, in Springfield, will also sell the Wichita, Kan., Pennypower and a shopper publication in Dallas, Texas.

Harte-Hanks published 15 editions of Pennypower in Wichita, Kan., and Springfield, which were delivered by carriers to a combined circulation of 285,000. Pennypower was founded in Wichita 25 years ago by Ray Walton.

The announcement was made March 31 by Larry Franklin, president and chief executive officer of Harte-Hanks, a publicly traded, San Antonio, Texas-based communications company.

The three shoppers will be sold to Central States Publishing LLC. The principals in that company are Darwin Oordt, who is based in Tennessee, and Doug Dance, who is based in Minneapolis, Minn.

The reason Harte-Hanks chose to sell the shoppers was that they were smaller than the shoppers the company tends to focus on, said Jacques Kerrest, chief financial officer for the company. Those three shoppers produced a combined weekly circulation of 720,000, compared with 7.3 million published by Harte-Hanks' California shoppers and 1.1 million published in Florida.

Harte-Hanks acquired Pennypower when it acquired a group of shoppers in September from Disney. The company does not plan to divest itself of any of the other shoppers acquired in that purchase, Kerrest said.

Oordt and Dance could not be reached for comment.

Harte-Hanks is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HHS.

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