While other media companies stave off bill collectors and even bankruptcy, Gannett is taking advantage of its cash reserves to buy larger shares of the local ecosystem. The newspaper and broadcast company, which purchased remaining shares in ShopLocal from Tribune a couple of months ago, has now bought a controlling interest in CareerBuilder.
Gannett paid Tribune, its former co-equal in the site, $135 million for 10 percent of the company. It now has 50.8 percent, while Tribune holds 30.8 percent. Other shareholders include McClatchy, which has 14.4 percent, and Microsoft, which has 4 percent.
CareerBuilder has been presented by its owners as a great newspaper success story, effectively bundling print and online and ramping up its marketing to present stiff competition, and in some categories leadership, over once impenetrable Monster.com. It competes in the U.S. and in Europe — a major reason for Gannett’s desire to purchase a larger stake, given its shares in U.K. newspapers.
Doubters in the industry have suggested that CareerBuilder’s “bundle” is something of a mirage, as the value of the print side dissipates. Hundreds of newspapers, of course, have pursued alternative solutions offered by Yahoo via HotJobs, while others have teamed with Monster. Whatever it is, CareerBuilder has certainly seen its share of recruitment success, having turned around an online situation in which newspapers were failing.
It might seem logical that Gannett would next take a dominant share in Cars.com, another newspaper success story. But such a move would be considerably more complicated as five newspaper companies are involved: Besides Gannett, other Cars.com owners include Tribune, McClatchy, The Washington Post Co. and Belo Corp.