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Cape Cod, New Bedford papers sold

NEW YORK — In one of its first moves since a corporate spinoff in June, News Corp. said Tuesday that it had sold 33 local publications to a private equity and hedge fund firm.

The collection of small newspapers and niche publications, known as the Dow Jones Local Media Group, will be owned by an affiliate of the Fortress Investment Group, News Corp. said in a news release. The publications will be managed by GateHouse Media, a newspaper publisher based outside Rochester, N.Y. Among the dailys included in the sale are the Cape Cod Times, the Standard-Times of New Bedford, and The Herald of Porstmouth, N.H.

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The Cape Cod and New Bedford papers will add to Gatehouse’s extensive holdings in Massachusetts. The company, based in Fairport, N.Y., owns The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, the Enterprise of Brockton, the MetroWest Daily News of Framingham, and many other daily and weekly newspapers and affiliated websites in the state.

The details of the transaction were not released, but the money involved was evidently relatively small, because if it had been bigger (or, in financial terms, material to the company), News Corp. would have had to disclose more financial information.

The company’s interest in selling the local publications was reported in April by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal and the collection of local publications were both included in the 2007 deal in which News Corp. acquired Dow Jones. Shortly afterward, News Corp. tried for the first time to sell the local media assets, but pulled back in 2008 because of unfavorable market conditions.

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