The Herald News newspaper in Joliet will be sold to Shaw Media, the Dixon, IL-based publishing company owned by the Shaw family, according to ChicagoBusiness.com.
The Herald News is owned by Wrapports LLC, parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times, and the sale could be announced later this week, reports Lynne Marek.
Shaw Media, which owns the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, the Morris Daily Herald, the Chronicle in DeKalb and the Daily Chronicle in St. Charles, has been adding to its suburban Chicago holdings in recent years with the purchase of Suburban Life, based in DuPage County, from Gatehouse Media.
Crain's Chicago Business reported last month that The Herald News could be the first of several suburban newspapers the Chicago Sun-Times relinquishes to new owners. Circulation of the newspaper is reported at 24,510 weekdays and 28,070 Sundays, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, a decrease of 2.2 percent weekdays and 1.5 percent Sundays from a year ago. In the mid-to-late 1990s, at its peak circulation, The Herald News was a 50,000-circulation daily.
The Sun-Times owners, led by Michael Ferro, reportedly paid $20 million for the Sun-Times and its suburban papers in December 2011 and invested $40 million in the publishing operation the last two years. Disappointed in the performance of the newspapers, the company is said to be turning more attention to its digital media projects.
In August, the Sun-Times notified the Chicago Tribune, which prints and delivers all Sun-Times-owned newspapers, including The Herald News, that it would cancel its printing and distribution contract in 2015. The Tribune reported that the Sun-Times was late making its monthly payments for the printing services.
Earlier this year, The Herald News and other Sun-Times suburban newspapers closed their business offices and moved all operations to the company's downtown Chicago building.Crain's is also reporting that the Sun-Times is seeking a capital investment from a European investor.