WASHINGTON (CN) – Federal prosecutors said they reached an agreement with two newspaper chains whose joint operating agreement threatened to close down the Charleston Daily Mail and leave the West Virginia city with a single daily paper, the Charleston Gazette. The Department of Justice sued the Daily Gazette Co. and MediaNews Group on antitrust grounds in 2007.
MediaNews Group is now known as Affiliated Media.
Prosecutors said the 2004 joint operating agreement effectively eliminated competition and was a plan for the Daily Gazette to shut down the Daily Mail, leaving the city with just one daily.
Under the agreement, MediaNews Group will regain control of the Daily Mail, and the companies must “offer substantial discounts of the Charleston Daily Mail in order to rebuild its subscriber base,” the Justice Department said in announcing the settlement. It also requires the companies to keep publishing the Daily Mail “as long as it has not failed financially.”
The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register, and will be followed by a 60-day comment period.