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Racine, Wis. and Kenosha, Wis. — Lee Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: LEE), the parent company of the Journal Times, has agreed to buy the Kenosha News and the Lake Geneva Regional News.

Kenosha-based United Communications owns the Kenosha News. A daily newspaper, it has average circulation of 20,000. The Lake Geneva Regional News is a weekly newspaper, according to a press release by Lee Enterprises.

The sale is expected to close on Jan. 31.

The acquisition was announced to staff at both newspapers Monday morning. A source — who wished not to be named — told the Racine County Eye that current employees, even the Guild members, have to re-apply for their jobs. Racine County Eye has reached out to officials from Lee Enterprises for comment.

Journal Times publisher Mark Lewis will be the regional publisher for Journal Times, Kenosha News and Lake Geneva Regional News.

“These two markets fit very nicely into our already strong footprint in Wisconsin,” said Lee President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mowbray. “Their proximity to existing Lee properties creates opportunity for synergies while greatly strengthening our audiences in southeast Wisconsin.”

Founded in 1961 by Howard and Elizabeth Brown, the United Communications Corporation laid off a number of staff over the past several years. Howard Brown died in 2011. His daughter, Lucy Brown, serves as the president and chief executive officer of United Communications.

“The Brown Family is very grateful for the hard work and dedication of all Kenosha News and Lake Geneva Regional News employees, both past and present,” United Communications Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Lucy Brown said. “Making the decision to sell is extraordinarily difficult, but we welcome Lee Enterprises and know the future looks bright under their leadership.”

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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