THE American parent company of the Daily Echo’s publisher Newsquest has merged with one of the largest publishers of local news in the US.

New Media has completed its acquisition of Gannett for a combination of cash and shares.

The combined business will operate under the name Gannett Co., Inc, the name by which New Media is trading on the New York Stock Exchange from today.

Michael Reed will remain chairman and chief executive of the combined company and Paul Bascobert will be chief executive of the operating subsidiary, Gannett Media Corp.

Mr Reed said:  “We are pleased to announce the completion of the merger to create the leading US print and digital news organisation with deep local roots and national scale.

“Our combined company will sustain local journalism in hundreds of markets across the country and enhance the services we provide to small and midsized businesses nationally. On behalf of everyone at New Media, we welcome Gannett and their talented team, and look forward to working together to achieve a seamless transition and to build value for all of our shareholders, employees, clients and local communities.”

Paul Bascobert, chief executive of Gannett, said: “Today is an exciting day as we move forward together as a combined company. We have a bright future together, grounded in our shared commitment to our local communities and our goal of building an enduring model that supports local journalism.”

Gannett brands include USA Today and more than 100 local media titles, digital marketing services companies, and the UK operation Newsquest.

Newsquest has more than 165 news brands and more than 40 magazines, in print and online. It has an audience of almost 30million users a month online and six million readers a week in print.

Its titles include the Daily Echo Bournemouth, the Southern Daily Echo and the Dorset Echo.