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New York – Two of the largest U.S. newspaper companies are set to combine after shareholders approved GateHouse Media’s $1.4 billion acquisition of Gannett.

New York-based New Media Investment Group, which owns GateHouse, announced in August its plan to buy USA Today owner Gannett, also the owner of the Detroit Free Press.

The deal creates the largest U.S newspaper company by far. Media expert Ken Doctor estimates the combined company will have a print circulation of 8.7 million, 7 million more than the new No. 2, McClatchy.

Local papers, faced with the complex and expensive process of building digital businesses to replace declining print ads and circulation, have been aggressively consolidating in recent years.

The combined company will take the Gannett name and keep its headquarters in Gannett’s current home of McLean, Virginia.

The deal is set to close on Tuesday.

The Detroit News, which is owned by MediaNews Group, is in a joint operating agreement with Free Press owner Gannett. That partnership, known as Michigan.com, runs the combined business operations of the newspapers, including advertising, production and marketing.

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