2 Minn. newspaper companies to merge

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The company that owns the newspapers in Owatonna and Faribault and the company that owns the newspapers in Waseca, Janesville and St. Peter intend to merge. The announcement came through their publications on Wednesday.

The two companies, Huckle Publishing Inc. and Mainstream Publications LLC, already had common ownership. The new company will be Huckle Media LLC. The merger is expected to be completed by April 1.

The two companies publish 16 community newspapers, two magazines and other niche products, and operate eight community Web sites and a commercial printing company in southern Minnesota.

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Huckle Publishing publishes the Owatonna People’s Press, the Faribault Daily News, the Owatonna Area Shopper and the Faribault Area Shopper. Mainstream Publications publishes the Waseca County News, the Northfield News, the Janesville Argus, the St. Peter Herald, the Le Sueur News-Herald, the Le Center Leader, the Lonsdale News-Review, the Kenyon Leader, the Waseca Area Shopper, the Northfield Area Shopper, the Minnesota River Valley Shopper and the Kenyon Area Shopper. Another venture, I-35 Target Media, produces magazines.

The press facility is Cannon Valley Printing in Northfield.

With the announcement of the pending merger came the announcement of the election of directors and officers.

Re-elected to the board of directors were Steven K. Pope and Renee Huckle Mittelstaedt. They are joined on the board by newly elected director Tom Yunt, the president and CEO of the Dubuque, Iowa-based Woodward Communications Inc. Yunt replaces retiring director Jim Huckle.

Pope serves as president and publisher of the Colorado Springs Gazette and Midwest Regional Vice President of Freedom Communications. Mittelstaedt is president and CEO of Huckle Publishing, and Mainstream Publications.

“We are very fortunate to have experienced and progressive media executives agree to serve as outside directors on our family company’s board of directors,” Mittelstaedt said. “Their involvement helps assure the long-term growth of our company as the media industry evolves with new opportunities for us to serve our readers and advertisers with new print and digital products and services.”

Pope also was elected chairman of the board, replacing Huckle.

In addition, the company announced re-election of its officers: Mittelstaedt, president and CEO; Ron Ensley, senior vice president; Sam Gett, vice president; and Robert Mittelstaedt, chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary.

Renee Mittelstaedt said the merger of the two regional family-owned media companies will help simplify business and administrative functions for customers and vendors doing business with both companies.