Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC has struck a deal to print and distribute the USA Today newspaper in New England, the company said Thursday.
In January, the Globe will begin printing around 50,000 copies of the national paper on weekdays at its plant on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. Later in 2016, printing of USA Today will shift to the Globe's new printing facility in Taunton, which the company bought in May for $20.3 million.
Mike Sheehan, chief executive of Boston Globe Media Partners, said in a memo to staff that installation of the new printing facility in Taunton was underway, and that the first of four press lines there will probably be operational by mid-March 2016. The other lines will be completed by the end of 2016.
Once the Taunton press is fully operational, printing of the Globe, the Boston Herald, The New York Times, and other papers also will move to the 328,000-square-foot facility.
Globe owner John Henry has said he intends to sell the paper's 16.5-acre Morrissey Boulevard property. An earlier deal for the site with a Concord developer fell through in February. The paper is still looking for a new location for its newsroom, sales, and other employees.
The acquisition of the Taunton plant was a key step in the sale process, Sheehan has said, and will allow the Globe to expand its commercial printing business by taking on new contracts such as the one for USA Today.
"We are excited about the investment [in the Taunton plant] for a number of reasons," Sheehan's memo said. "First and foremost is the ability to print The Boston Globe with more efficiency, more flexibility, more color, and higher quality reproduction. We are also excited about the opportunity to expand our successful commercial printing operation."
Globe executives declined to disclose the terms of the deal with USA Today's publisher, Virginia-based Gannett Co.
In October, Gannet Offset Boston notified the state that it would close its Norwood printing plant by the end of 2015 and lay off all 53 workers there.
Like many other papers, USA Today is grappling with a decline in business. According to recent Gannet filings, circulation revenue at the paper fell 12 percent in the third quarter of 2015.