The family holding company that owns The Press of Atlantic City has put the daily newspaper and its affiliated operations up for sale.
In announcing its decision Monday, Pittsburgh-based Abarta Inc. indicated it wanted to focus on businesses with higher growth potential.
“Abarta’s investment priorities have always emphasized growth,” said chief executive John Bitzer III. “Stand-alone daily newspapers in medium-sized markets, while still very profitable, now have certain growth constraints that are easier for other potential owners to eliminate than they are for us as a family holding company.”
The company’s other main businesses are in soft drink beverages, oil and gas exploration and ethnic frozen food.
With the newspaper having been in the family for 60 years, Bitzer said the owners made their decision with what he called “a heavy heart.”
But Bitzer said he was certain the decision was in the best interest of both the family firm and the newspaper.
As part of the move, Jim Hopson has taken over as interim publisher, replacing Keith Dawn. Hopson was publisher of The Press and the rest of the media operations from 1989 to 1994.
Abarta is selling all of The Press Media Group, which includes The Press, and At The Shore; the weekly Hometown; SundaySaver; PressXtra; Real Estate Monthly; and the digital platforms, PressofAtlanticCity.com and AtlanticCityInsiders.com.
Hopson said he looks forward to “helping to find a suitable new steward for this valuable publishing franchise.”
The newspaper traces its roots to The Daily Press, begun in 1895. A new editorial office and production plant was opened in the Atlantic City suburb of Pleasantville in 1970, and a year later, the name was changed from The Atlantic City Press to The Press. The daily and the Sunday edition became The Press of Atlantic City in 1988.