HENDERSON — The company that owns The Dispatch has purchased a chain of nearly 50 small newspapers.

Paxton Media Group announced the purchase of Landmark Community Newspapers LLC, based in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

The deal, which was finalized this week, includes the purchase of all 47 daily and weekly newspapers in the Landmark chain, said Jamie Paxton, PMG president and CEO.

“We are very excited to add these newspapers into the PMG portfolio,” Paxton said. “PMG believes strongly in the value of local newspapers and the vital role they play in the communities that they serve. We appreciate Landmark choosing us to be the new stewards of these important community assets.”

Of the 47 papers, 20 are in Kentucky. The others are spread across Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Only one is in North Carolina, the Brunswick Beacon in Shallotte near the southeast coast.

PMG will officially take over operations in early June, but there will be a transition period to PMG regarding systems and procedures, Paxton said.

PMG, which is headquartered in Paducah, Kentucky, will now own a total of 120 publications across 14 states, including 10 in North Carolina.

The purchase continues an effort at PMG to acquire community newspapers in the company’s existing geographic footprint, said Mike Weafer, publisher of the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Kentucky, and group publisher for the Kentucky-Indiana region.

“Paxton has been interested in acquiring newspapers as part of our strategy given the conditions and the nature of the newspaper industry,” Weafer said. “Acquisitions strengthen us and help us to persevere, so it is part of an overall strategy to continue to acquire newspapers.

“Landmark has a clustering of newspapers that are very geographically connected to Paxton papers,” he said. “So there is a lot of synergy that can be had with that.”

Landmark Community Newspapers traces its roots to 1966, when a group of eight local newspaper publishers decided to pool their resources and purchase a printing plant. The company was incorporated as Newspapers Inc. two years later. Newspapers Inc. was then purchased by Landmark Communications Inc. in 1973.