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Cablevision Completes Newsday Buy from Tribune

Cablevision Systems said Tuesday that it concluded its acquisition of a 97% stake in suburban New York newspaper Newsday from Tribune. The deal’s price tag was previously put at $650 million.

“We believe this presents great opportunities for us to build our subscription-based businesses,” Cablevision chief operating officer Thomas Rutledge said in a statement. “This marriage of content and technology will also strengthen Newsday's role as the connecting point between readers and the events, businesses and neighbors around them.”

A press release said Newsday publisher Tim Knight will continue to oversee the daily newspaper.

When the acquisition was first announced, Wall Street analysts expressed skepticism that cable-system giant Cablevision should diversify into the fast-fading newspaper business. Cablevision responded that the acquisition beefs up its presence in news, benefiting its regional cable-TV-news operation, and further entrenches its media grip on Long Island, N.Y.

Tuesday’s press release said Cablevision is “immediately exploring ways” to extract synergies from Newsday, including cross-marketing with its cable-TV channels, particularly to its cable subscribers who are not Newsday subscribers.

Seller Tribune is beset by sharp declines in its other big-city newspapers and is selling off various assets to whittle down heavy debt from the $8.2 billion December buyout engineered by financier Sam Zell.