Times Mirror Co. said today that it has agreed to sell the Dallas Times Herald to newspaper publisher William Dean Singleton for $110 million in cash and notes.
Singleton, 34, owns 21 newspapers in six states through two companies, Garden State Newspapers Inc. and Gloucester County Times Inc. The Times Herald will be his largest paper and he will move his operations to that city.
Times Mirror, which also publishes the Los Angeles Times and seven other newspapers, said it will more than recover its investment in the Times Herald, which it acquired in 1970 along with a Dallas television station for a price valued at roughly $95 million. Times Mirror said it will know the exact amount of gain after it strikes a definitive sale agreement with Singleton.
Wall Street analysts viewed the sale as a positive one for Times Mirror. “A brilliant move,” said Victoria Butcher, an analyst with the brokerage firm F. Eberstadt & Co.
Analysts said they believed the Times Herald, the second newspaper in the Dallas market, was inhibiting Times Mirror’s growth and would increasingly begin to draw funds from other operations.
“Even if they improved their position in Dallas, the paper would never contribute much to the bottom line” at Times Mirror, Butcher said.
Singleton will buy the Times Herald through the Gloucester County Times Inc. and own it in partnership with Richard B. Scudder, 73, a longtime newspaper publisher from New Jersey, and John Buzzetta, 35, publisher of the Star-Beacon in Ashtabula, Ohio.
Analysts estimate that the Times Herald, circulation 244,629, has made money each year that Times Mirror owned it. They estimate it earned about $17 million on revenues of $150 million in 1984. Earnings dropped in 1985 on roughly similar revenues. Times Mirror does not release figures for individual papers.
But in competitive terms, the paper was losing ground to the rival Dallas Morning News. The Times Herald’s share of the Dallas newspaper advertising market, for instance, has slipped from about 49% in 1978 to about 40% today, analysts said.