Lee Enterprises buys Quad Cities paper

Davenport-based company has agreed to purchase Illinois-based Dispatch-Argus

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News organization Lee Enterprises plans to purchase an Illinois newspaper that serves parts of the Quad Cities.

Lee announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement to buy the Dispatch-Argus for $7.15 million from Kankakee, Ill.-based Small Newspaper Group. The Dispatch-Argus has a daily average circulation of 25,000 and serves Moline and Rock Island, according to a statement.

The sale is expected to close later this month and includes the paper’s website, QCOonline.com.

Davenport-based Lee owns another newspaper serving the Quad Cities, the Quad-City Times, and a number of other Iowa papers. They include the Mason City Globe Gazette, the Muscatine Journal and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

“The Dispatch-Argus is a perfect strategic fit for Lee,” Lee President and CEO Kevin Mowbray said in a statement. “It is adjacent to two of our Iowa enterprises, in Davenport and Muscatine, so this will expand our audiences and create additional synergy opportunities.”

Debbie Anselm, the publisher of the Quad-City Times and Muscatine Journal, will become publisher of the Dispatch-Argus. In a statement, Anselm said the Dispatch-Argus would “maintain its editorial independence and distinct voice.”

Asked whether the acquisition would result in staff reductions, a Lee spokesman said the company does not comment on staffing levels at individual newspapers.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; matthew.patane@thegazette.com

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