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Above the fold

Alabama fund becomes the sole owner of newspaper firm

Hunter Harrell

Stop the presses! Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns a newspaper. Several, actually.

The Montgomery-based pension fund bought newspaper publisher CNHI LLC, also based in Montgomery, making the $37 billion retirement system the sole owner of CNHI.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The retirement system previously served as creditor to CNHI.

"The RSA is familiar with the publishing industry having been previously involved in the industry for almost two decades," said M. Hunter Harrell, director of private placements for the retirement system, in an email. "We are comfortable with both the company and the management team, and the company will continue with its operation of over 100 newspapers and websites in 22 states."

Donna Barrett, CNHI president and CEO, said in a news release announcing the acquisition: "We are very excited about working with RSA again because of its dedication to the crucial role of newspapers in keeping the public informed on what is happening in their communities and beyond. We believe this acquisition will provide stability for CNHI as we continue to transform our business for future success."

The newspaper publisher was previously owned by Raycom Media Inc., which was previously owned by the retirement system. Raycom is now being purchased by the Gray Television Inc. in Atlanta.