Adams Publishing Group, the owner of The Advocate & Democrat, announced recently that it is purchasing Sun Coast Media Group, based in Venice, Fla., including SCMG’s publications located on the west coast of Florida, according to Gary Greene and Randy Cope of Cribb, Greene & Cope.
Sun Coast Media Group newspapers to be included in the sale are The Venice Gondolier, The Arcadian, The West Villages Sun, The Englewood Sun, The North Port Sun, The Charlotte Sun and The Charlotte Sun Times.
Sun Coast Media Group is a family-and-employee-owned company founded by Derek Dunn-Rankin in 1976. Dunn-Rankin left a senior position at Landmark Communications at age 50 to buy the Venice Gondolier, a weekly at the time, and built a successful, award-winning company, including being a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 and winner in 2016; with more than 300 employees.
CEO David Dunn-Rankin announced the sale to employees by saying, “After 42 years of family ownership, the Dunn-Rankin family has regretfully decided that the time has come to entrust Sun Coast Media Group to another family.
“Since the loss of our dad two years ago, we have realized that several members of our family have financial needs that can only be met if the company is sold,” Dunn-Rankin said. “So, it is with genuine sadness that we made that difficult decision.”
APG Principal Stephen Adams stated, “We are extremely excited to have the Sun Coast Media Group and its associates join the Adams Publishing Group family. The SCMG newspapers are located in one of the great newspaper markets in the United States, with a solid employee group we are eager to welcome aboard our team.”
APG Executive Vice President Gregg Jones added, “I’ve known the Dunn-Rankin family a long time. Because they are wonderful friends, I know they are going to miss greatly the newspapers they are selling. I join the Adams family in being grateful to, and honored that, David and his siblings would choose APG as their successor in those communities and trust it to nurture and continue the outstanding legacy of solid community journalism and stewardship maintained by the Dunn-Rankins for more than 40 years. It’s a wonderful fit for both families.”
In a related transaction, David Dunn-Rankin is purchasing the daily Highlands News Sun and Polk County newspapers from Sun Coast Media Group, along with the Florida-based concerts business SunEvents.com.
First acquisition in Florida
This will be APG’s first newspaper acquisition in Florida and will continue community-oriented family ownership for the SCMG newspapers. The only other family-owned newspapers remaining in Florida are the Key West Citizen and the Villages Daily Sun.
Adams Publishing Group describes itself as “first and foremost a family-owned community newspaper company, which is driven to provide high quality products and services that make a positive difference in the lives of its constituents, which are, in prioritized order: its readers, customers/advertisers, communities, associates (employees) and its shareholders.”
Other Adams family enterprises include outdoor advertising (billboards), radio, wine, Camping World/Good Sam (recreational vehicles) and significant philanthropic endeavors.
Cribb, Greene and Cope represented Sun Coast Media Group in this transaction.
Terms of the APG/Sun Coast Media Group transaction were not disclosed.