Newspaper chain GateHouse buying Gannett, USA Today owner

NEW YORK (AP) — Two of the country's largest newspaper companies have agreed to combine in the latest media deal driven by the industry's struggles with a decline of printed editions.

GateHouse Media, a chain backed by an investment firm, is buying USA Today owner Gannett Co. for $12.06 a share in cash and stock, or about $1.4 billion. The combined company would have more than 260 daily papers in the U.S. along with more than 300 weeklies.

The companies said Monday that the deal will cut up to $300 million in costs annually and help speed up a digital transformation.

Newspaper consolidation has picked up as local papers find it hard to grow digital businesses and replace declines in print ads and circulation. Hundreds of papers have closed, and newsrooms have slashed jobs.