Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today, agreed to buy Journal Media Group Inc., the owner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for about $280 million, a first step in the company’s strategy to acquire more newspapers.

Journal Media shareholders will receive $12 a share, a 45 percent premium over Wednesday’s closing price of $8.30, according to a statement. Gannett, based in McLean, Virginia, will finance the deal with cash and its $500 million revolving credit facility.

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