New Media sells Las Vegas Review-Journal only months after acquiring property
Las Vegas paper sold to News + Media Capital Group, a company just formed, while New Media also announces acquisition of the business publications of The Dolan Company
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has been sold. OK, that doesn’t sound like news, newspapers are sold all the time these days, sometimes traded around by companies looking to leave print.
But this sale is a bit strange. You see the paper was just sold in March by Stephens Media LLC for $102.5 million in cash. The buyer was New Media Investment Group, the company that emerged following the bankruptcy of GateHouse Media, and still publishes using that name. And who is the buyer, and why is the seller selling?
The buyer is supposedly News + Media Capital Group, LLC, a company just formed in a filing in Delaware two months ago. The new company paid $140 million for the prop, not a bad payday for New Media Investment Group (which explains why the sale took place). Also, New Media will now manage the paper under the new ownership, the first time the company has entered into such an arrangement.
“Although New Media was not actively looking to sell the newspaper, the decision was in the best interest of our shareholders,” said Michael Reed, New Media’s President and CEO. “Looking ahead, we continue to believe we can execute on our acquisition strategy, acquiring local media assets at 3.5x to 4.5x the seller’s LTM As Adjusted EBITDA, despite the premium multiple being paid for a prized asset such as the Review-Journal.”
But who is News + Media Capital Group, LLC? No one seems to know, and the only person who has stepped forward to represent the group is not identified by title.
“We are delighted to have acquired the Review-Journal,” Michael Schroeder of News + Media Capital Group LLC said in the announcement of the deal. “The Review-Journal is the leading newspaper in Las Vegas and Nevada, and we look forward to working with New Media to continue to grow this great publication. We believe good journalism is good business.”
Schroeder, according to his LinkedIn profile, is Publisher, President and CEO at Central Connecticut Communications LLC, and it does not mention this new company. Schroeder has, in the past, been with Newsday and IDG. He was also, interestingly to me, Deputy Business Editor at Hearst’s Los Angeles Herald Examiner at the same time I was at the newspaper (meaning, a long time ago). The least Schroeder could do is tell a fellow Herald Examiner alum what is going on!
New Media Investment Group also announced that they had acquired the Business Information Division of Dolan LLC, 39 publications in the legal, financial, real estate, and government affairs sectors.
“We are pleased to announce the agreement to acquire the Dolan assets and see a tremendous opportunity to leverage its publications and subscriber base across New Media’s footprint,” said New Media’s Reed. “In addition to the valuable content Dolan provides to its readership base, we believe their subscribers, which are predominately service oriented business owners, are the ideal customer for our fast-growing digital services business, Propel Marketing.”
Minneapolis-based Dolan, like GateHouse Media, has recently gone through a bankruptcy. In March of last year. the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and founder and CEO James Dolan and Chief Operating Officer Scott Pollei both have resigned at that time.
Former Freedom Communications executive Mark McEachen then came in as CEO, but in September it was announced that McEachen would become CEO at the struggling education management company EDMC.
The Chicago-based investment banking company Houlihan Lokey represented Dolan in the transaction.
If all this wasn’t enough, New Media also said it had reached “an agreement to purchase substantially all of the publishing operations of a dominant, local daily newspaper.” The name of that paper, as with those involved with News + Media Capital Group LLC, remains a mystery. Maybe they plan a separate announcement on this part of the deal later today.