Gannett, publisher of USA Today, is in advanced talks to combine with GateHouse Media in a deal that would merge the two largest owners of newspapers in the U.S. by circulation, said two people briefed about the matter, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The LA Times added that GateHouse, “which is controlled by Softbank’s Fortress Investment Group, has made a cash-and-stock bid to buy Gannett, said those informed about the terms of the deal. Gannett’s board is expected to approve the takeover in the coming weeks but an agreement has yet to be clinched and those briefed about the negotiations cautioned that the talks could still fall apart.

“If the deal goes through, about one in every six newspapers in the U.S. would be owned by a single company, estimated Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Newsonomics. “That’s an unprecedented concentration of control in the history of the American press,” he said.

“A deal would come months after Gannett successfully thwarted a hostile takeover approach by MNG Enterprise, a rival regional newspaper publisher backed by hedge fund Alden Group, which has a reputation of hollowing out American newsrooms.”

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