The McLean family, which has owned the area newspapers since 1989 and operated them as McLean Publishing Co., has decided that it no longer wishes to be in business, and is selling all of the IPI holdings, including newspapers and non-newspaper operations. The company's antecedents date back to 1895. Already sold are the firm's several Muzak franchises in Pennsylvania and other East Coast states, and the New Hampshire-based McLean Communications Inc., which publishes monthly and quarterly magazines and organizes consumer-oriented events.
Still up for sale are the Courier-Express/Tri-County Sunday of DuBois, the weekly Jeffersonian Democrat of Brookville and the weekly Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem; the Telegraph Publishing Co. of Nashua, N.H.; and operations in Florida. The transactions are being handled by Cribb, Greene & Associates of Charlottesville, Va.
"Our local newspapers have been consistently profitable and are on a solid footing," Denny Bonavita, editor/publisher of the newspapers, said. "This is not a going-out-of-business sale. The sale is being conducted because the owners wish to exit the business. We expect to continue to profitably provide the news of the day for a long while under new ownership."
Under the leadership of IPI founder William L. "Bill" McLean III, the Courier-Express was purchased in 1988, and the Jeffersonian Democrat in 1990. The Tri-County Sunday edition was started in 1993 and the company bought the Leader-Vindicator in 1998. Andrew T. Bickford is the current CEO of Independent Publications. Bill McLean died in 2011.
In addition to its newspapers, the company and family have been generous supporters of area philanthropic endeavors through its foundation, the McLean Contributionship, supporting libraries, historical projects, Scouting and other activities in the areas served by the local newspapers.