Press: Family Affair

Merging for profit

When Iowa Banker Gardner Cowles bought the Des Moines Register in 1903, he planted the seeds of a family communications empire that flourished for three generations, eventually as three separate companies, sprouting Look magazine, and acquiring numerous newspapers, radio and television stations as they grew. Last week two of his heirs decided to merge their companies, the Des Moines Register and Tribune Co. and the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Co., presumably on the theory that the family that stays together profits together.

The news was expected: talks had been under way for several months between Des Moines Board Chairman David...

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