Press-Republican’s parent chain sold to Retirement Systems of Alabama

PLATTSBURGH — Retirement Systems of Alabama has bought CNHI LLC, the newspaper chain that includes the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh, it was announced Wednesday.

Details of the sale were not disclosed.

CNHI — the acronym formerly stood for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. — has more than 100 local newspapers and websites in 22 states, including 68 dailies and more than 40 non-dailies.

RSA manages the pension fund for Alabama’s public employees. It was created by that state in the 1970s but has corporate powers and controls more than $40 billion in assets, including the largest commercial office space in Manhattan (55 Water Street) and numerous Alabama office towers, hotels and golf courses, including the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, according to AL.com.

CNHI and RSA have a long history together, with RSA financing CNHI as a major backer. AL.com reported that RSA had $2.7 billion invested in Raycom Media, CNHI’s recent owner, as of this past summer.

That’s when CNHI went up for sale as Gray Television group, based in Atlanta, bought Raycom’s dozens of TV stations but not the newspaper chain. Raycom had bought CNHI nine months earlier. The newspapers were set to be sold off, either together or piecemeal. As it turns out, RSA took them all.

CNHI was first formed in 1997 in Birmingham, Alabama, by Ralph Martin from newspapers he bought from Media General — papers RSA CEO David Bronner had helped Media General buy from Park Communications.

CHNI later added newspapers from other chains, including, in 2002, the Press-Republican and three others from Dow Jones & Co.’s Ottaway Newspaper group.

In 2011, CNHI moved from an RSA-owned building in Birmingham to a then-new RSA tower in downtown Montgomery, where RSA is based.

“We are very excited about working with RSA again because of its dedication to the crucial role of newspapers in keeping the public informed on what is happening in their communities and beyond,” CNHI President and CEO Donna Barrett said in a press release. “We believe this acquisition will provide stability for CNHI as we continue to transform our business for future success.

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