Hearst today announced that it has acquired the business operations of The Pioneer Group from fourth-generation family owners Jack and John Batdorff. The announcement was made by Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz and Hearst Newspapers President Mark Aldam.
The Pioneer Group is a Michigan-based communications network that circulates print and digital news to local communities across the state. In addition to daily newspapers, The Pioneer and Manistee News Advocate, Pioneer publishes three weekly papers and four local shopper publications, and operates a digital marketing services business.
This acquisition furthers Hearst Newspapers’ connection to the local Michigan communities that has been built through the strong reporting at Hearst’s Huron Daily Tribune and the Midland Daily News.
“We are proud to follow four generations of Batdorff family leadership in these central Michigan communities,” Aldam said. “This addition is an essential part of our desire to further serve readers in Michigan.”
After its founding in 1862 with a four-page weekly newspaper, The Pioneer Group has grown to serve as a regional leader in communications without losing its community-centric focus.
“We have every confidence that Hearst will be good stewards of the community, and will be a progressive community partner, a goal we’ve tried to fulfill over the years,” Jack Batdorff said. “They have a reputation for giving back and for taking care of their people, which has always been important to our family.”
“Hearst has the resources and specific expertise across many media platforms to take the products and the company to a whole new level,” John Batdorff said. “I’m excited for the employees who are joining Hearst, which is a family company too, just on a much bigger scale.”
The Pioneer Publisher John Norton will continue in his role following the acquisition.
“Hearst has made a major investment in digital marketing solutions, which we can now roll out into our markets, adding more choices and value for our customers,” Norton said. “It’s going to be exciting for all of us to be a part of this growth step.”
Hearst is one of the nation’s largest diversified media, information and services companies with more than 360 businesses. Its major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; majority ownership of global ratings agency Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; 30 television stations such as WCVB-TV in Boston and KCRA-TV in Sacramento, Calif., which reach a combined 19 percent of U.S. viewers; newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Albany Times Union, nearly 300 magazines around the world including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR and Car and Driver; digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital and video companies such as BuzzFeed, Vice, Complex Networks and AwesomenessTV. Follow us on Twitter @HearstLive and @Hearst, and subscribe to Hearstlink.