(Adds sourcing, background information)
By Liana B. Baker
Aug 4 Gannett Co Inc, one of the
newspaper owners of Cars.com, is near an agreement to buy out
the part of the auto-sales website that it does not already own
for $1.8 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on
This would be the latest step for Gannett to diversify its
business away from newspapers. Gannett, the largest U.S.
newspaper chain and publisher of USA Today, has been snapping up
broadcast TV stations to bolster its portfolio against declining
advertising revenue and readership at its newspapers. It spent
$1.5 billion on buying the broadcaster Belo last year.
Gannett is one of the five newspaper publishers that back
Classified Ventures, the entity that owns Cars.com. Cars.com
helps people buy and sell cars on the Internet.
Reuters reported in May that Gannett was exploring a bid for
the entire company. Bloomberg News first
reported on Monday that Gannett had agreed to a deal.
While Gannett will be in control of the company, the
agreement would allow previous owners of Cars.com to sell ads
and generate revenue for five years, according to Bloomberg.
A spokesman for Gannett declined to comment. A
representative for Cars.com did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
Gannett, which publishes 82 newspapers in the United States,
also owns a stake in digital recruitment site CareerBuilder.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and