-- Co-Owner Landmark Keeps Real Estate, Apartment, Employment and Recreational Publications and Websites and Other Businesses
-- Co-Owner Cox Keeps Automobile-Related Publications and Websites
-- 11 Regional Printing Plants Will Serve Both Companies
Trader Publishing Company today announced that its 50 percent co-owners Landmark Communications, Norfolk, Va., and Cox Enterprises, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., have reached an agreement to divide the company in order to wholly own the classified media properties that offer the best strategic fit with their respective businesses.
Landmark will own 443 publications and 38 websites serving the Real Estate, Apartments, Employment and Recreational (motorcycles, boats, RVs) markets. Representative publications include The Employment Guide(R), For Rent(R), Harmon Homes(R), Cycle Trader(R) and RV Trader(R). Websites include ForRent.com(TM), Homes.com(R), CycleTrader.com(TM) and the portal TraderOnline.com(TM).
Landmark will also own Trader's free distribution network, Trader Distribution Services, as well as all of Trader's information services and web services businesses. Trader Distribution Services reaches 50,600 distribution sites in the United States, including many supermarkets and mass merchandisers nationwide.
Cox will own Trader Publishing's automobile-related publications, which include 341 automobile and light truck titles including the nationally known Auto Trader(R), Auto Mart(R) and Truck Trader(R), as well as four companion websites for vehicles including AutoMart.com(TM) and AutoExtra.com(TM).
In addition, Landmark will transfer to Cox its 26 percent interest in AutoTrader.com, a popular automotive website. Cox will also control the distribution network for all of Trader's paid circulation titles.
"Since Trader was formed on April 1, 1991, we have grown from $150 million in annual sales to $1.3 billion -- a compound growth rate of 15% -- and we have become the largest publisher of localized print publications and websites in all the major market segments for classified media in the United States," said Trader Publishing Company Chief Executive Officer Conrad M. Hall. "Now 15 years later, our co-owners are heading along new paths that make perfect sense for their respective business strategies in 2006 and going forward."
Landmark will change the name of its Trader assets to "Dominion Enterprises(TM)," which was chosen for its broad scope, as well as Landmark's and Trader's heritage as Virginia-based companies. Hall will retain his CEO title at Dominion Enterprises.
Landmark Communications CEO Frank Batten Jr. said, "We are proud of Trader Publishing and its management team, which has posted excellent results for any enterprise. Landmark is looking forward to the continued growth of these fine media properties, as well as new ventures that offer high growth opportunities."
Cox's ownership stake in Trader Publishing, which will be called "Auto Trader Publishing," and AutoTrader.com will become part of a new entity called "Cox Auto Trader," which will be headed by Cox veteran Sanford Schwartz.
Under the terms of the agreement, Trader's 11 regional printing plants and the related transportation assets will become an independent company, owned equally by Landmark and Cox. The plants will provide printing, production and distribution services to both companies. The facilities are located in Chicago, Ill., Dallas, Texas, Nashville, Tenn., Phoenix, Ariz., Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., Dayton, Ohio, Winston-Salem, N.C., York, Pa., Ontario, Calif., and Clearwater, Fla.
Concluded Hall, "I anticipate little change for Trader's almost 10,000 employees as a result of this ownership reorganization. Simply put, people who are working on auto and light truck publications will become part of Cox, and people associated with our other titles and businesses will join Dominion. The personnel at our printing plants will be unaffected. We expect to have the new companies fully formed by the end of June."
Dominion Enterprises will continue to be headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. The company is expected to move into new offices located on Granby Street in January 2007. The headquarters for Auto Trader Publishing will also be located in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.
About Landmark Communications (www.landmarkcom.com)
Based in Norfolk, Virginia, Landmark Communications, Inc. is a privately held media company with interests in cable programming, newspapers, television broadcasting, and electronic publishing. It owns The Weather Channel Companies, which include The Weather Channel network, weather.com, and Weather Services International. Its flagship newspaper is The Virginian-Pilot, published in the Norfolk metropolitan area. Landmark's businesses employ more than 5,000 people.
About Trader Publishing (www.traderonline.com)
Based in Norfolk, Virginia, Trader Publishing Company is the nation's leading producer of specialty classified advertising publications including Auto Trader, For Rent, Harmon Homes and The Employment Guide. Trader publishes 784 paid and free publications with a total circulation of nearly 9 million per week. The company owns and manages 42 websites receiving 7.6 million unique visitors per month (as measured by comScore Media Metrix), targeting the automotive, apartment rental, residential real estate and employment markets. It also owns and operates the nation's largest paid and free magazine distribution system, serving 350,000 outlets every week, and 11 regional printing plants across the United States. Formed in 1991 to address the continued increase in demand for more targeted channels for classified advertising, Trader employs approximately 10,000 people in 47 states.