The Eternal Word Television Network announced today that it "has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register" from the paper's current owners, the Legionaries of Christ. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this month.
An article on EWTN's Web site states that:
Under the terms of the agreement, no cash will be exchanged. EWTN will take over the ongoing operational expenses of the Register and will assume its future subscription liabilities effective on February 1st....
“As an apostolate that is focused on using the media to evangelize, we immediately saw how the Register could fit into what we do,” Michael Warsaw, [EWTN's President and C.E.O.,] explained to EWTN News. “I believe the Register has a bright future and fits quite well under the EWTN umbrella.”
He described the Register as a “publication of record” for news and analysis, and assured readers that they would continue to see “the same commitment to accurate and faithful Catholic reporting” that has distinguished the publication for decades.
The Register has its own story on the acquisition, which offers more on the history of the paper and on its financial troubles of late:
The need for the providential intervention by EWTN was precipitated by what Legionary Father Owen Kearns, the Register’s publisher and editor in chief, described as a “perfect storm.” That storm, not dissimilar to what has hit most print publications, was intensified by rising publishing and mailing costs, and the negative impact on Register donations from the downturn in the economy, all of which overwhelmed the Legion’s ability to continue to subsidize the costs of producing the newspaper and managing its website.
As of Feb. 1, EWTN will take full control and ownership of the Register.
Recent management changes at the Register had resulted in cost reductions exceeding $1 million annually. Senior Register staff said that this, coupled with continued donor support, a new marketing and advertising team, and additional changes have resulted in a recovery that promises to be timely and beneficial to the change in ownership.
Due in part to the fallout from revelations regarding the congregation’s founder, the Legion of Christ did not have the resources to bring the previous turnaround efforts to fruition, said the Register spokesman.
EWTN and the Register began exploring the possibility of an acquisition in November. A meeting, which was held in early December, was described by the spokesman as “open and enthusiastic.” Details of the transfer were worked out after that.