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Thomson Newspapers Reaches Agreement to Buy Clay Communications

April 16, 1987

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Thomson Newspapers Inc. has reached an agreement to buy the Charleston Daily Mail and three other newspapers from Clay Communications Investors, the two companies announced today.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Clay Communications papers included in the agreement in addition to the Daily Mail are The Beckley (W.Va.) Register-Herald, The Shelby (N.C.) Star, and The Enquirer-Journal of Monroe, N.C. The newspapers have a combined circulation of about 118,000.

Thomson publishes 97 other daily newspapers and five weekly papers across the United States and Canada.

The announcement made no mention of four television stations owned by Clay: WWAY in Wilmington, N.C.; WAPT in Jackson, Miss.; KJAC in Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas; and KFDX in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Lawton, Okla.

The announcement said the sale agreement was reached with Lincoln Publishing Co. of Des Plaines, Ill., a Thomson affiliate.

Clay Communications chief executive officer Lyell Clay, publisher of the Daily Mail, said he will retire once the sale is completed. His family has held controlling interest in the Daily Mail since 1914.

John McGee, managing partner and chief operating officer for Clay Communications, will succeed Clay as the Daily Mail’s publisher and will continue to serve as president of Charleston Newspapers, the joint operation between the Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette.

McGee and St. Clair McCabe, president of Thomson Newspapers Inc., said no major changes are planned.

″Each of our newspapers is autonomous,″ McCabe said.

The Daily Mail is West Virginia’s second-largest newspaper and largest afternoon paper, with a circulation of 53,367.

The Beckley paper’s daily circulation is about 33,000, while Shelby’s is about 18,000 and Monroe’s is roughly 13,000.

Clay Communications announced in January that it was soliciting bids for the company.

Thomson Newspapers Ltd. is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and its U.S. operation, Thomson Newspapers Inc., is headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill.

Its newspapers have a total circulation of 1.54 million.

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