Investment Group Revolution Capital has bought The Tampa Tribune newspaper from Media General Inc. for US $9.5 million, the Tampa Tribune reported. The Trampa Tribune properties include Centro Tampa, a Spanish-language weekly newspaper and website established in 2005.
The Tribune's longtime corporate owner, Virginia-based Media General Inc., is transferring ownership of the Tribune, its affiliated newspapers and TBO.com to the Los Angeles-based Revolution Capital Group, which has formed a newly created, locally based company called the Tampa Media Group. After this transaction, Media General will only hold television stations but not newspapers any more.
"It's a bittersweet day for Media General to complete the sale of its last remaining newspaper group," Marshall N. Morton, Media General's president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. "We will miss our colleagues at The Tribune and its associated print and digital platforms, and we wish them the very best." Media General owned The Tampa Tribune for 46 years. According to the announcement, Media General will retain the NBC affiliate, WFLA, News Channel 8. However, the newspaper and the television operations will continue their news partnership.
The Tampa Media Group will have 618 employees and will continue to operate the Tribune's affiliated publications: Hernando Today, Highlands Today, Suncoast News, Sunbelt Newspapers and the Spanish-language publication Centro. The Tampa Tribune has a daily circulation of 144,510 and a Sunday circulation of 262,369. The paper's online presence, TBO.com, attracts more than 14 million page views a month, the newspaper wrote. The new company did not address whether there will be layoffs at the paper or any other changes."I wouldn't want to disclose our game plan," said Cyrus Nikou, the Revolution Capital Group's founding partner, said in a Tribune news story about the sale. "Except to say that we are looking at the Tribune as a long-term investment and multimedia play in the future."
Financial Investors jump in:
Because of the structural challenges facing the newspaper industry, quite a few traditional newspaper companies have sold their newspapers to financial investors (non traditional industry players). This is the case with the Tampa Tribune purchase by Revolution Capital. Earlier this year, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway bought most of Media General’s newspapers (excluding The Tampa Tribune). In 2009 private equity firm Platinum Equity bought the San Diego Union Tribune, including its Spanish-language newspaper Enlace. Last year, The Tribune was sold to developer Doug Manchester. Private equity investors often see value in strong local media properties, particularly if they can acquire them for a low price. Sometimes the purchases also include the newspapers real estate holdings.