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Denver's Clarity Media Group, the print affiliate of Anschutz Entertainment Group of Los Angeles, said on Wednesday that it had acquired the Weekly Standard magazine of Washington, D.C. from News Corp. No terms for the deal were revealed.

The conservative magazine, whose web site says that it "has a growing circulation of more than 60,000," was founded in 1995 by William Kristol, who is its editor, while Fred Barnes is executive editor. Clarity said that it foresaw no staff changes.

"First-rate owners are hard to come by," said Kristol in a statement. "We've had one. We're getting another."

Clarity was launched in 2004 when Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz purchased the free daily newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, from the local family that had bought it from The Hearst Corp. four years earlier. Clarity had planned a nationwide network of Examiners, but has had success only in the San Francisco and Washington markets (it shuttered its Baltimore Examiner in February after 2-1/2 years). The company does have web sites under the Examiner moniker in more than 60 markets nationwide.

In other mergers and acquisitions news, in an interview published on Wednesday, one of the partners in the investment firm that helped Richard Connor seal a deal to buy the three largest dailies in Maine earlier this month contended that his company's investment was not made just for the hard assets.

"This business was not purchased for the real estate," said Peter Brodsky, a partner at HM Capital Partners LLC in the Wall Street Journal's "Private Equity Beat." "We bought it for the newspapers, we intend to operate the newspapers, and the investment thesis is that the upside will come from the newspaper assets."

Nonetheless, Brodsky did acknowledge that "it's absolutely our intention to monetize some of that real estate in the very near term" and within 24 hours, the near term had arrived. The Portland Press Herald reported on Thursday that the paper's new owners had sold three downtown properties. No terms were revealed.

The paper's downtown offices will be renovated into office space and "possibly some apartments," while its printing plant and a parking lot a block away will be razed and a 30-story tower will be built for retail, hotel, office space and parking.

"Once the sale is final, we will begin moving some of our employees to our South Portland printing plant, and for others we will be leasing office space at an in-town Portland location," said Connor, the new publisher and editor of the Maine papers, in a statement.

How much did The Seattle Times Co. lose in its foray into Maine? Hard to say, but the Seattle Weekly suggests its more than had been previously thought, because of a long-perpetuated typo: the Times originally reported in 2003 that the company borrowed $233 million, but in recent years it has said the number was $213 million.

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Title Annotation:Clarity Media Group; News Corp.
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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