APG buys Antigo’s daily newspaper

Adams Publishing Group, owner of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, announced Monday that it has bought the Antigo Daily Journal and its affiliated weekly publication, Journal Express.

The north-central Wisconsin paper had been publishing since 1905 under the ownership of the Berner family.

“After surviving two world wars, a number of other conflicts and wars, Prohibition, the Great Depression and many other challenges of will, the Berner family persevered,” Publisher Fred Berner wrote in a front page editorial last week, heralding the sale.

He then stated that changes in retail, readership, competition from social media, demographics and other challenges have made it difficult to remain a family-run newspaper in a small Wisconsin community.

Fred Berner did ask Antigo to welcome APG’s ownership, as the company has purchased other publications from families he’s known.

“Antigo is a great community with a strong history in local journalism,” Jeff Patterson, president of APG’s Central Division, wrote in a news release. “We believe we can advance this important mission with the support of the talented employees at the Daily Journal.”

The Minneapolis-based company operates several daily newspapers in Wisconsin with the closest to Antigo being The Eagle Herald in Marinette. APG now owns and operates 34 daily newspapers and more than 100 weekly publications in 20 states, according to the company.

CCF Bank completes F&M Bank merger

Altoona-based Citizens Community Federal, parent company of CCF Bank, has completed its merger with a Tomah financial institution.

Announced in January, CCF’s $24 million deal to purchase Farmers & Merchants Bank closed on Monday and customers have received information on the conversion to CCF Bank that will take place this month, according to a news release.

Following the merger, CCF has more than $1.5 billion in total assets and 28 locations in northwest Wisconsin and southern Minnesota.

From staff reports