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Chicago newspapers: one buys, one sheds direct mail firm.

Chicago newspapers: one buys, one sheds direct mail firm

Within a couple of weeks of each other, the Chicago Tribune entered the direct mail business, and the Chicago Sun-Times left it.

The Tribune bought AmeriComm Direct Marketing/Illinois Inc., a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based AmeriComm Direct Marketing Inc.

AmeriComm/Illinois had already been providing database, packaging, labeling and mail services for Local Values, the Chicago Tribune's direct mail product.

Local Values is mailed weekly to approximately 910,000 non-subscribing households.

"This is the first entree into direct marketing for the Tribune," said Dennis Grant, vice president and director of advertising for the newspaper.

"We have been supplying about 20% of [AmeriComm/Illinois'] business. Now we will be able to use their data processing and database resources for national mailings, not just local mailings," Grant added.

The company was renamed AmeriComm, Illinois, a division of Tribune Direct Marketing.

More recently, the rival Chicago Sun-Times sold its direct-mail subsidiary, Sun-Times Distribution Systems, to Advo Systems, the giant nationwide direct mailer.

The Sun-Times said the sale will be an all-cash transaction that is expected to close by April 26. The selling price was not revealed.

Sun-Times Co. executive vice president James B. Shaffer said cash from the sale will be used to pay down the company's debt load. Shaffer said the sale "allows the Sun-Times to focus on our core business, newspaper publishing, while significantly increasing Advo's efficiencies and its ability to service its customers."

In addition to the Chicago Sun-Times, Sun-Times Co. publishes the Pioneer Press and Star Publications chains of community newspapers.

The Sun-Times entered the direct marketing field in 1987 with the purchase of Advance Business Corp. of Aurora, Ill.

Its product, Galaxy of Values, is distributed to two million households weekly.

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Title Annotation:Chicago Tribune buys AmeriComm Direct Marketing/Illinois Inc.; Chicago Sun-Times sells Sun-Times Distribution Systems
Author:Fitzgerald, Mark
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Apr 13, 1991
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