Cablevision acquires Newsday

Will pay $632 million for the company

NEW YORK -- Cablevision Systems will expand its New York media empire into the print space under a $650 million deal to acquire 97% of Long Island newspaper group Newsday Media Group from Tribune Co.

The company controlled by the Dolan family, which last week agreed to shell out $496 million for the Sundance Channel, will pay $632 million plus $18 million as prepaid rent under certain leases of property used in the business.

The deal was struck after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. dropped out of the race over the weekend.

Besides the Newsday paper, the acquisition includes, free New York City daily amNewYork and shoppers and lifestyle publications.

Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan said, "It is both an honor and privilege to return Newsday back to Long Island-based ownership after nearly 40 years."

Cablevision president and CEO James Dolan tried to counter questions about his cable company's ability to manage a newspaper. "Both Cablevision and Newsday are in the content, customer relationship and advertising business, and we see this as a wonderful fit," he said.

Among the business opportunities cited by management are the cross-selling of advertising, cross-marketing of Newsday to Cablevision's cable audience, the majority of which does not currently subscribe to the paper, and promoting Cablevision's live sports and entertainment assets, particularly through amNewYork with its New York City average weekday circulation of 335,000.

The Newsday businesses will report to Cablevision COO Thomas Rutledge.

For debt-ladden Tribune, the sale provides some financial relief.