PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Dallas media company A.H. Belo is acquiring The Providence Journal Co., owner of the Providence Journal-Bulletin newspaper, for $1.5 billion in cash and stock.

Belo owns seven television stations and a group of newspapers that includes The Dallas Morning News.

Together, the two companies own 15 network-affiliated television stations that reach more than 12 percent of the nation. The companies' combined revenues totaled $1.1 billion for the 12 months ended June 30.

``This combination of broadcast assets creates one of the finest network-affiliated station groups in the country,'' Robert Decherd, Belo's chairman, president and chief executive, said Thursday.

``The management of both companies share a commitment to journalistic excellence in television broadcasting and newspaper publishing,'' said Stephen Hamblett, chairman and chief executive of the Journal.

Journal stockholders will receive $12.33 in cash and 0.5333 of a Belo share for each their shares, valuing the Journal at $32.53 a share.

Trading in both companies was halted late Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange before the announcement, with Journal shares up 50 cents at $20.87 1/2 a share and Belo down 37 1/2 cents at $37.50.

The deal already has been approved by the boards of both companies, but must be cleared by government regulators.

The Journal-Bulletin will be a wholly owned subsidiary and will continue as an independent newspaper with a separate board of directors which still will be headed by Hamblett, who also remains as publisher. News and editorial policy decisions remain with Hamblett, who also is a member of The Associated Press board of directors.

The Journal Co. employs about 1,500 people in Rhode Island. No changes in the work force are planned, Hamblett said, adding ``Why change something that's not broken?''