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UNITED STATES v. HARTE-HANKS NEWSPAPERS

January 19, 1959

UNITED STATES of America
v.
HARTE-HANKS NEWSPAPERS, INC., et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVIDSON

We have before us a contest between two newspapers. According to one view it may have been for domination of the other and of the area. According to another view it may have been a fight for existence.

We bear in mind that this is not a civil suit of course between the two papers. One of the papers bowed out of the contest accepting a price of $ 300,000. There was the severest competition between these two papers for a term of years. Much of the evidence discloses the zeal and earnestness of the contestants in this competition with each other.

 The Government brings this prosecution based on the charge that the prevailing paper in the contest violated the anti-trust law and thereby destroyed competition between the advertising public and the surviving paper.

 The advertising public, however, after the contest, according to the evidence, paid some 25 cents per inch less for their advertising than they did before. This came about by having to advertise only in one paper, whereas before they had advertised in two.

 It is insisted that Greenville, a town of only 17,000 could not profitably support two daily papers and that this was apparent to the owners who for several years prior to the merger made proposals and counter proposals to buy out each other.

 During this fight between the papers which we might call a fight for survival they each lost over $ 100,000. The Banner sold out to the defendants in this case, some of whom constitute a group or chain of Texas newspapers. Thus the Banner became the property of a financially strong concern and put in more money into its plant and more ...


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