Community Publishers Set to Close

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 777 views 

Community Publishers Inc. of Bentonville, primarily owned by Jim Walton, has reached an agreement to sell its remaining newspapers in Oklahoma to Berkshire Hathaway Media Group.

And with that — after doing business for more than three decades and at one point employing more than 300 people in three states — CPI will officially close its doors.

CPI president Steve Trolinger wouldn’t confirm BHMG as the buyer of the Oklahoma newspapers, but said an announcement would be made by the end of the month.

“It’s been a great 33-year run,” Trolinger told Whispers, adding that he plans to retire. “Some good journalism, and great employees. No regrets.”

CPI owns seven newspapers in Oklahoma — the Broken Arrow Ledger, the Coweta American, the Owasso Reporter, the Sand Springs Leader, the Skiatook Journal, the Wagoner Tribune and the Tulsa Business & Legal News. The company now has seven employees at its Bentonville home office, and about 50 with the Oklahoma newspaper group.

Just a few weeks ago, CPI sold its eight newspapers in Arkansas and Missouri, as well as its commercial printing operations in Missouri and Oklahoma, to Phillips Media Group LLC of Harrison.

Trolinger and Walton, son of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, founded CPI in 1982 with the purchase of the Benton County Daily Democrat, which became the Benton County Daily Record.

CPI also previously owned the daily Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville), plus 13 weekly newspapers in Benton and Washington counties. They were sold in August 2005 to Little Rock publisher Walter Hussman, founder of Wehco Media Group.