A Tennessee-based media company has acquired the Sun Coast Media Group, a collection of daily, weekly and twice-weekly community newspapers on the west coast of Florida that had been family-owned since 1976.
Greeneville, Tenn.-based Adams Publishing Group purchased the media company from the Dunn-Rankin family, well known in the Florida media/publishing community and in south Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The acquisition leaves three independently owned newspaper companies on the west coast: The Observer Media Group, publisher of the Business Observer and more than a dozen other publications and websites; the Tampa Bay Times, which a nonprofit, the Poynter Institute, owns; and Florida Media Group, publisher of Florida Weekly in Southwest Florida, which is owned by media entrepreneur Pason Gaddis.
The Adams Publishing Group acquisition, meanwhile, includes: The Venice Gondolier, The Arcadian, The West Villages Sun, The Englewood Sun, The North Port Sun, The Charlotte Sun and The Charlotte Sun Times, according to a statement.
"We are extremely excited to have the Sun Coast Media Group and its Associates join the Adams Publishing Group family,” APG principal Stephen Adams says in the statement. “The SCMG newspapers are located in one of the great newspaper markets in the United States, with a solid employee group we are eager to welcome aboard our team."
Derek Dunn-Rankin, who left a senior position at Landmark Communications at age 50 to buy the Venice Gondolier, a weekly at the time, had run the company for decades. Dunn-Rankin died in April 2016.
The company he helped build, along with his son, Sun Coast Media Group CEO David Dunn-Rankin, grew to 300 employees. The company was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 and won journalism’s highest honor in 2016.
"After 42 years of family ownership, the Dunn-Rankin family has regretfully decided that the time has come to entrust Sun Coast Media Group to another family,” David Dunn-Rankin says in the statement. "Since the loss of our dad two years ago, we have realized that several members of our family have financial needs that can only be met if the company is sold. So, it is with genuine sadness that we made that difficult decision."
The purchase is APG’s first move into Florida, according to the statement. "I've known the Dunn-Rankin family a long time,” APG Executive Vice President Gregg Jones says in the statement. “Because they are wonderful friends, I know they are going to miss greatly the newspapers they are selling.”
In a related transaction, David Dunn-Rankin acquired the daily Highlands News Sun and Polk County newspapers from Sun Coast Media Group, along with Florida-based concerts business SunEvents.com.