The 32-paper Sun cluster will operate as ECM-Sun Group, LLC and will be managed by Sun veteran Jeff Coolman. ECM’s embrace of Coolman indicates that national ownership (American Community Newspapers) more than local management was the swallowed chain’s problem.
No purchase price was given, but Sun’s struggles before and after a 2009 bankruptcy make it likely the acquisition wasn’t a back-breaker. ECM executives have spoken of injecting newsroom resources into the cut-weary titles.
ECM will likely consolidate back-office costs and printing. The acquirer has a modern printing plant that produces the Midwest edition of the New York Times; ACN has a Wisconsin plant.
Sun’s papers are located in places such as Edina, Eden Prairie, Delano, Eagan, Lakeville, Osseo, Plymouth, Richfield, St. Louis Park and Stillwater. ECM has 15 weekly papers in Anoka, Blaine, Caledonia, Coon Rapids, Isanti, Princeton and Dakota County, among others. Today’s announcement did not mention consolidating papers.