New York Daily News real-estate value could mitigate liabilities in tronc deal while new New York footprint could make tronc a more attractive target, industry sources conclude.

Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times publisher tronc Inc. added a major market to its portfolio with its purchase of the New York Daily News at a $1 cash purchase price coupled with the assumption of more than $61.2m in liabilities, and industry sources responded with cautious optimism.

The cash payment to seller Mortimer Zuckerman is nominal, but a Tuesday (Sept. 5) filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows the buyer will assume liabilities such as $18.7m in letters of credit, to be replaced within 60 days of the acquisition; a single-employer defined benefit pension obligation of about $26.5m, to be paid out at $2m a year; multi-employer pension plans and obligations requiring about $2m in annual contributions; and about $16m in workers’ compensation and automobile insurance liabilities. The operational and pension liabilities that come with the acquisition will be met from the New York Daily News’s cash flow, according to SEC filings.

The assets that come with the newspaper include about $8m in net working capital; plant and equipment assets that saw a $150m investment less than ten years ago; and an option to purchase a 49.9% stake in New Jersey real estate for up to $3.5m, which will become a requirement when the lease ends in 2021. The Daily News will have an option to require the sellers to buy its interest at the then-current fair market value.

The company had $174.2m in cash on the balance sheet as of June 25. An additional source of liquidity is the undrawn $140m RCF due August 2019, which had $34.7m supporting letters of credit at that time. On the debt side, tronc had $369.1m outstanding under its TL due August 2021 as of June 25.

Kevin Kamen, president and CEO of media industry brokerage and appraisal firm Kamen & Co., believes the acquisition makes sense as a way to build out the portfolio and audience and appeal to advertisers.

“It gives tronc a new market, and nothing is as exquisite as having the New York market,” he said.

Management’s “entire vision, I believe, is to build up their portfolio and sell the whole thing,” and adding a New York publication to the portfolio “certainly makes it more appealing to investors,” Mr. Kamen said.

After tronc’s bid for the Chicago Tribune’s rival Chicago Sun-Times failed earlier this year, management signaled that it was eager to find a new target to acquire.

The Nasdaq-listed shares rose just under 1% Tuesday to $14.79 with a $488.5m market cap. The stock is down 14.6% over the past year.

lisa.allen@capital-structure.com
+1 212 205 8550

Chicago Tribune publisher Tronc plans to buy Chicago Sun-Times parent in a deal that could ‘set the tone’ for further newspaper consolidation.

Lisa Allen 5/16/17
lisa.allen@capital-structure.com
+1 212 205 8550

Newspaper publisher tronc Inc. took a step in its plan to grow through acquisitions with a nonbinding letter of intent to buy the parent of the Chicago Sun-Times, following through on management’s comments on the Q1 earnings call with analysts who saw the company’s $160.9m in cash as a potential stockpile for purchases.

Kevin Kamen, president and CEO of media industry brokerage and appraisal firm Kamen & Co., believes the acquisition would not put too deep a dent in tronc’s cash pile. “Based on my research, [the Chicago Sun-Times’ parent is] not profitable, and they’ve been searching for a new home for quite some time,” Mr. Kamen told CapitalStructure. “When one within the media trade analyzes their operation from afar and looks at the titles, the distribution, the staffing, the digital components, and considers the quality of that editorial content and the brand from an advertiser’s perspective, I come up with a figure of no more than eleven million dollars. Any investor group offering more than this figure would be out of their mind.”

Financial terms are still being finalized, according to a May 15 statement from tronc, which publishes newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

The newsrooms will remain separate if the deal closes, tronc said – it is still subject to approval by the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Mr. Kamen expects the deal will go through unless a wealthy investor from Chicago steps in with an attractive offer. However, he is skeptical of the claim that the newsrooms will remain independent.

“I personally don’t see them staying separated and independent from each other for more than 24 months maximum, primarily because that is where the profits lie: Economies of scale would lead any logical person to come to the same conclusion,” Mr. Kamen said.
He noted regulators have the power to demand that operations stay separate over a specified timeframe, but said they usually avoid that measure.

One comparable deal between nearby competing newspapers was the Tampa Bay Times’ 2016 purchase of the Tampa Tribune. The two papers were combined into one, leading to massive job losses. Executives argued at the time that competition between the two publications was threatening both of them.

Mr. Kamen is watching the outcome in Chicago closely for regulatory cues. “With the new Trump administration, this particular deal will set the tone for future deals between other neighboring papers throughout the country,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether tronc makes further M&A forays. On the Q1 call, tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said the search for acquisitions would focus on digital properties that would allow tronc to “take advantage of the data we collect” and create businesses around that, though he noted an opportunistic approach to traditional media was possible as well.

Liquidity at tronc is not limited to the cash position. As of March 26, tronc had nothing drawn on its $140m variable-rate senior ABL facility due August 2019, though $34.7m of that availability supported undrawn letters of credit.

The corporate entity that owns the Chicago Sun-Times, Wrapports Holdings LLC, also owns other properties including an alternative weekly paper, the Chicago Reader; a syndicated column, “The Straight Dope”; and a minority stake in digital content network business Aggrego LLC.

Michael J. Ferro Jr., tronc’s nonexecutive chairman and largest shareholder, was formerly chairman of Wrapports, but gave up that role when he joined tronc last year amid takeover overtures from rival Gannett Co.

Q1 revenue declined 8.1% year-over-year at tronc, largely due to a 13.1% reduction in ad revenue, even as the publisher grows its digital audience.

The two publishers already have a close business relationship. The Chicago Sun-Times has been distributed by tronc’s predecessor company since 2007, and the acquirer became the printer for that paper as well in 2011. The Chicago Sun-Times sold its suburban papers to tronc’s predecessor in 2014.

If the deal does close, “tronc will benefit from increased unique visitors, better engagement with Sun-Times consumers and more data for future troncX initiatives,” Mr. Dearborn said in a statement.

Wrapport approached tronc about combining earlier this year, and the parties have been in talks with the Justice Department about the deal since then, according to the statement.

The Justice Department announced an investigation of the proposed deal on May 15, and its statement provided further details about the timing and process. If no other viable buyer comes forward to express substantial interest in acquiring the Chicago Sun-Times parent and begins due diligence within 15 calendar days, then the target may be sold to tronc.

The deal could be completed as soon as June 1.

Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO
Kamen & Co. Group Services
626 RXR Plaza
Uniondale, NY 11556
516-379-2797
info@kamengroup.com
Visit our website at www.kamengroup.com

2017 should be a prosperous year for most media entities

By Kevin Kamen

President/CEO at Kamen & Co Group Services and Owner, Kamen & Co Group Services

Published on February 5, 2017

As a multi-media valuation firm based in New York (kamengroup.com), our team is thinking broadcast and print-digital growth this year and we expect the stock market to be the place on which to keep both eyes centered. With a new president in office, a republican controlled house and senate elected and aligned to “make America great again,” you can expect regulations to be scaled back in the coming months in DC and the stock market to continue to become a more inviting place for investors to park their investment dollars. Anything media, whether print or digital, will be a smart investment in 2017. Newspapers of the weekly variety will become more valuable than in recent years; daily newspapers that have solid digital formats will become trusted extensions for investors and social media will continue to grow in a dynamic fashion. I feel it simply makes sense that putting your hard earned dollars into broadcast and digital, and to a degree print, will pay dividends in the long haul. It has to; people need to know and want to be informed and media entities help deliver all the news as it happens, from Twitter to Facebook to every known social media dynamic on the planet today.

Talk within the beltway will be about consumerism and the rights of every consumer, including banking rights, voting rights and human rights. Public concern over these topics, regardless of how polarized the country is today, will lead to new growth initiatives and new business opportunities across almost every imaginable channel – and the media, as always, will be following and reporting on everything “Washington.” With the infrastructure of the country on the minds of many politicos and President Trump wanting to put America back to work, legal notices and all types of advertising and bidding will be highlighted once more – as soon as both major political parties come to an agreement on what to allocate in terms of dollars and where to spend those monies. You can be certain the media will be a recipient of millions upon millions – if only to get the message out and build support for such an investment.

We anticipate that Fed chief Janet Yellen, who happens to be an Obama appointee, will not be around by 2018. Her management of the Fed will again come into question as it has in recent years and the new president will request her resignation. Once President Trump shapes the government to his liking and invests in building the military, pipelines, infrastructure and inner cities, as he has promised to do, undoes a wide array of regulations affecting business and cuts back on waste throughout the government, a fair share of advertising and marketing dollars and investment in media outlets – both via the government and big business establishments – will allow for numerous media entities to take advantage of new development strategies across all sectors of the country and ultimately see growth. How ironic since all we ever hear out of the mouth of the new president is how biased and untrustworthy the liberal media has been to him. He does have a point yet it will ultimately be the media that will directly benefit from a large percentage of the dollars from many of President Trump’s bold initiatives.

Values at many broadcast entities will absolutely soar during the next four years Trump is in control of the country and for good reason. Analysts will be busy, reporters and news agencies will be working around the clock and the public will clearly be crying out for more and more in this informational age. The markets will not stay stagnant, inflation rates will be adjusted and interest rates should climb. Real interest rates will matter, meaning the current interest rate minus inflation rate will be a focus of all bankers. In essence, the Real interest rate may be calculated by comparing interest rates with present or, more often, reduced inflation rates. For example, with a bond yielding 9% and inflation of 3%, the Real interest rate of 6% would bring a return high enough to beat inflation.

This year will not only be about paywalls, payroll, links, printing costs, distribution, unique visits or buyer consumption. Instead it will be about becoming more creative, using social media initiatives to attract revenue streams like never before and enhancing your team so it is better trained, better prepared and able to adjust to the new world order within the media sphere. It is no longer important to be just good; it is necessary to be focused, idea-centric, precise, reflective and everywhere in order to become profitable and relevant to an ever more demanding, more engaged audience that requires much more as we within the publishing and broadcast sector work to be a firewall for independence and integrity, all the while keeping both eyes on the bottom line.

Kevin Kamen Kamen & Co. Group Services (kamengroup.com, 516.379.2797) is based in Uniondale, New York and provides professional financial valuations, consultation and brokerage services to the multi-media and entertainment trade on a worldwide basis

OFFER FOR TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COULD GROW CLOSER TO $900 MILLION

Published – 4/26/16

mediawire

 

 

TRIBUNE COULD DECIDE THAT SELLING THE COMPANY PIECE BY PIECE IS MORE LUCRATIVE

chicago_tribune

Gannett’s $815 million offer for Tribune could balloon closer to $900 million according to Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of the Uniondale, NY based Kamen & Co. Mr. Kamen believes Gannett could end up cutting a check for $825 – $850 million. However he also says that Gannett’s offer could also generate additional offers from other companies here in the U.S. and abroad. There is also the possibility that the Tribune board could see more value in selling off the company piece by piece. Here is his full take on the Gannett Tribune bid:

“Tribune could soon receive interest from one or two other decent-sized newspaper publishing entities and quite possibly interest from a major publishing institution from abroad. I can think immediately of two other major publishing companies here in the US that would be interested in at least three of the dailies and their accompanying local-local assets. Don’t forget that the Chicago Tribune owns Chicago Magazine and the entire portfolio can be broken apart and, in the end, possibly become more valuable if sold off in pieces. I am certain the Tribune Board will weigh it all out and play Gannett to the end.”

“This is a challenging print and digital world we now live in and any company that can find economies of scale, has the infrastructure in place such as Gannett and would like to buy into particularly strong markets such as Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Hartford can make a reach for these titles,” Kamen continued. “If that happens don’t be surprised if the entire Tribune Publishing portfolio rakes in nearly $865 million. Gannett is not just attempting to buy solid respected daily newspapers that offer quality editorial content with vast saturation from a circulation perspective and a wide host of digital growth potential across assorted channels; they want dominance.”

“In order to have advertisers buy ad space in various platforms you must be able to offer key demographic and institutionalized branding and these markets and specific titles provide Gannett with exactly what they need to project dominance and a shift in their recent model of market penetration. Their emphasis in recent years has been on the digital growth side but it is clear that they have come to the realization that print is still alive and matters to readers and ad buyers alike. In the end, if the deal is made it will be interesting to see how many folks lose their jobs due to cost savings and duplication of services across the board and how efficiently leadership will administer the entire Gannett organization.”

KAMEN: GANNETT OFFER OF $815 MILLION FOR TRIBUNE PUBLISHING LIKELY TO INCREASE

liexchangePublished 4/26/16 – (Long Island, NY) Multi-media appraiser and broker Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of the Uniondale, NY based Kamen & Co. Group Services, expects the Gannett offer of $815 million — which he considers to be a substantial offer — to climb if and when the Tribune team takes a look and determines if it would be interested in meeting with Gannett executives.

Kevin B. Kamen. Photo Credit: Kamen & Co. Group Services.

Kevin B. Kamen. Photo Credit: Kamen & Co. Group Services.

At his Uniondale office Monday afternoon, Kamen stated, “Provided Tribune agrees to sit down with Gannett, I believe the end result could see Gannett cutting a check in the $825-850 million range. At the same time, Tribune could soon receive interest from one or two other decent-sized newspaper publishing entities and quite possibly interest from a major publishing institution from abroad. I can think immediately of two other major publishing companies here in the US that would be interested in at least three of the dailies and their accompanying local-local assets. Don’t forget that the Chicago Tribune owns Chicago Magazine and the entire portfolio can be broken apart and, in the end, possibly become more valuable if sold off in pieces. I am certain the Tribune Board will weigh it all out and play Gannett to the end.”

“This is a challenging print and digital world we now live in and any company that can find economies of scale, has the infrastructure in place such as Gannett and would like to buy into particularly strong markets such as Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Hartford can make a reach for these titles,” Kamen continued. “If that happens don’t be surprised if the entire Tribune Publishing portfolio rakes in nearly $865 million. Gannett is not just attempting to buy solid respected daily newspapers that offer quality editorial content with vast saturation from a circulation perspective and a wide host of digital growth potential across assorted channels; they want dominance. In order to have advertisers buy ad space in various platforms you must be able to offer key demographic and institutionalized branding and these markets and specific titles provide Gannett with exactly what they need to project dominance and a shift in their recent model of market penetration. Their emphasis in recent years has been on the digital growth side but it is clear that they have come to the realization that print is still alive and matters to readers and ad buyers alike. In the end, if the deal is made it will be interesting to see how many folks lose their jobs due to cost savings and duplication of services across the board and how efficiently leadership will administer the entire Gannett organization.”

For the record, Kamen was the newspaper valuation expert who correctly projected what Newsday, The Boston Globe and the Providence Journal would be sold for prior to their most recent sales; he has a longstanding list of newspaper, magazine, book publishing and shopper clientele with nearly 40 years servicing the publishing industry.

KEVIN KAMEN: ALTICE/CABLEVISION DEAL WILL LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT JOB LOSS, WEAKER EDITORIAL CONTENT AND ULTIMATE SALE OF PRINT TITLES

liexchangePublished: 4/14/16. (Long Island, NY) Global media appraiser and broker Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co. Group Services (kamengroup.com) is not a major supporter of the sale of Cablevision to Altice, the growing French cable and telecommunications entity.

Kevin B. Kamen. Photo Credit: Kamen & Co. Group Services.

Kevin B. Kamen. Photo Credit: Kamen & Co. Group Services.

“I suspect Altice is going to come in and slash jobs, streamline operations and work to identify the quickest method of becoming profitable. One of the first places they’ll target for job consolidation will be Newsday, mark my words,” he said. “They will also cut jobs at Cablevision in the long-run. Wherever they can save cost overruns and produce efficiencies they will. Trust and believe. They are not about to invest billions in a sinking ship. I would also expect to see price increases across the board within a year for all subscribers regardless of how competitive the market is.”

Kamen, who has been in the publishing industry for nearly four decades, financially values more newspaper, book publishing, shopper and magazine companies in the US today than any other concern within the media trade and handles a significant amount of brokering as well. He correctly projected the value and ultimate sale prices for Newsday, the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal daily newspapers prior to their respective sales over the past several years.

In his Uniondale office yesterday, he said, “For the past several years the cable trade has been overheating and buyers worth billions have been targeting highly competitive, saturated markets trying to rapidly expand their cable and mobile companies – and this is exactly the case for Patrick Drahi and Altice, the multi-national cable and telecom company that is offering $17.7 billion to acquire Cablevision. They are getting the business for about $1.6 billion less than we have it currently valued for.”Unfortunately, the deal includes Newsday, amNew York and direct mailed titles as well as a number of hyper-local cable news channels that reach regional markets within the tristate area. Ultimately, we can expect to see a loss of jobs here on Long Island and in New York City. It smells rotten from a publishing perspective. This deal obviously speaks to what the Dolans had planned when they split their other entertainment assets (NY Rangers and NY Knicks) apart from their losing print assets a few years back. I suspect the plan for Altice will be to hold on to all the print publishing assets for about 18 months or so and then seek to unload them to another organization that has the infrastructure and synergies to operate the newspapers more efficiently. A number of major publishing executives have already reached out to me asking if Newsday would soon be made available. Once the finance specialists review all the print and distribution costs, I project we will see less newspapers printed and a ratcheted up push to grow the online subscriber base.”

“No doubt acquiring Cablevision along with its multiple media properties will be considered a New York cornerstone acquisition by Altice and, with the deal in St Louis for another cable company recently, they will have swiftly planted a large foothold into the US cable market. It is always about organization development for a new multi-media owner. A planned vision that primarily focuses on a systematic process of proven business practices and principles will always be rationalized and used to improve the bottom line financially,” Kamen added. “Altice has been steadily acquiring cable and mobile companies below value. They have already invested billions in Israel, France, Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Belgium and now the United States (St Louis).” Kamen ended his remarks stating, “Mr. Drahi has made a business decision and all rationale leads me to believe that once goals are not achieved and print, production, distribution and overall operating expenses are not ideal for the bottom-line, maximum effort to unload anything and everything print will be put into full mode across every possible channel. Regardless how anyone looks at this deal in its current state, it has to end up costing jobs across the entire Cablevision organization – both from a digital and print perspective.”

Owner of Village Voice in active talks with potential buyers

thedeal_mast_230x70

 

 

by Jaewon Kang | Published September 3, 2015

As Voice Media Group Inc. holds active discussions with potential buyers for The Village Voice, industry watchers say the best bet for the owner of the New York alternative weekly is to find a local publisher willing to attempt turning around an iconic newspaper that may have lost its luster.

Newspaper group Voice Media Group is actively involved in talks on the sale of The Village Voice, its flagship, with a wide pool of suitors, The Deal has learned.

Denver-based Voice Media Group publishes alternative weeklies, which are niche publications focusing on producing local, offbeat content. The newspaper group has been exploring strategic options, including a sale or acquisitions of publications, since January. So far, it has sold City Pages in Minneapolis to Star Tribune Co. and divested Riverfront Times in St. Louis to Euclid Media Group.

In addition to the Village Voice, Voice Media also publishes LA Weekly, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times and the Houston Press, among others.

The Deal previously reported that The Village Voice was receiving a fair amount of interest at the start of the review process and that Voice Media Group was more open to selling its publication in New York than offloading LA Weekly in California.

What may help is that another major New York media property, the New York Daily News, is no longer for sale. Billionaire Mort Zuckerman in August pulled the Daily News off the block, only about six months after tapping Lazard Ltd. to explore strategic options for his tabloid.

Founded in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer, the Village Voice has established itself as a New York institution mostly because of its coverage of the city’s dynamic cultural scene. The paper has also produced prominent art critics such as Robert Christgau, Deborah Jowitt and Michael Musto, among others.

Village Voice’s circulation for the period ended Dec. 31 was 75,212, according to Alliance for Audited Media. (LA Weekly had 90,898 for the period ended June 30, 2015.)

Based on the circulation number, editorial content and quality of the product, the Voice could fetch between $1 million to $1.2 million, according to Kevin Kamen, CEO of print media appraisal and brokerage firm Kamen & Co.

While the alt weekly is certainly marketable, it has been in a declining mode for the past several years and has weak circulation numbers, he said.

He doubted that the newspaper could be turned around unless it’s sold to a local buyer who can cross-sell and cross-promote its advertising pages with other media properties. Even then, a local publisher is only likely to pay around $800,000 for the Voice, Kamen explained.

“They’ve had instability going on for seven to eight years,” said an industry source who asked for anonymity. “My gut feeling is that this will end up being somewhat of a fire sale.”

This person said that the Voice lost its luster “a good 10 years ago,” suggesting that Greenwich Village itself may not hold the same attraction as it once did.

“If you look at recent housing trends amongst the younger people, they flock to Brooklyn,” the person said. “You don’t hear about this influx of people moving into the Village. When the paper was emerging and was the standard in [New York], it was the younger, outspoken, new thoughts-type editorial and news coverage that was emanating from the Village that made it different.”

Meanwhile, Voice Media has been through a number of ownership iterations over the past several years.

The Village Voice was acquired in 2000 by a group of investors that included arms of investment firms Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Trimaran Capital Partners. In 2005, that company, Village Voice Media Inc., merged with New Times Media to form Village Voice Media Holdings LLC. A group of executives bought Village Voice Media from its owners in 2012 and has expanded it into its current form.

New Projo owner likely to cut jobs, analysts say

By Ted Nesi Published: July 23, 2014, 5:56 pm Updated: July 23, 2014, 6:13 pm  

Providence Journal's headquarters on Fountain Street in Providence. (photo: WPRI 12)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence Journal’s new owner is likely to cut jobs while boosting revenue through a service that helps local small businesses with online marketing, analysts said Wednesday.

GateHouse Media parent New Media Investment Group Inc. will pay $46 million to “acquire substantially all of the assets which comprise the newspaper operations of The Providence Journal” from A.H. Belo Corp., the Dallas-based company that has owned the paper since 1997, the companies announced Tuesday.

GateHouse CEO Kirk Davis gathered Journal staff members – who learned about the sale via email when it was made public late Tuesday afternoon – in the auditorium of the paper’s Fountain Street headquarters Wednesday morning to tell them about the deal. Davis was flanked by Howard Sutton, the paper’s longtime publisher. They did not take questions.

“We enter your market committed to supporting a journalistically proud, sustainable, agile, and innovative organization, and we are committed to upholding the high standards and unquestioned integrity that you have come to expect from The Providence Journal,” Davis wrote in a letter to readers published in Wednesday’s paper.

John Hill, a Journal reporter who is president of the Providence Newspaper Guild union, said he was heartened by the “very nice things” Davis said both at the employee meeting and in the public letter. Hill said it’s too early to make any judgments about how GateHouse will rate as a steward of the paper.

“We need to see the details of how this thing is implemented from the point of view for the people who represent the workers,” Hill told WPRI.com. He added: “They’re saying good things, but we need to see. The words are good – don’t get me wrong – but we need to see what they do.”

The union’s current contract with the newspaper expires Dec. 31. Sutton and Karen Bordeleau, The Journal’s executive editor, have not responded to a request for comment. New Media did not respond to an email Wednesday.

GateHouse was created in the mid-2000s when Fortress Investment Group LLC, a New York firm, merged three community newspaper groups in Massachusetts and Illinois. The company then went on a debt-fueled buying spree, only to run into trouble when the broader economy and the newspaper industry in particular cratered after 2008. GateHouse exited bankruptcy late last year and is now growing again with a clean balance sheet.

Kevin Kamen, a media appraiser at Kamen & Co. Group Services in Uniondale, N.Y., correctly predicted as far back as 2010 that a buyer would be willing to pay $42 million to $51 million for The Journal. He said Wednesday the purchase is “a great deal” for GateHouse, which already owns a large number of publications in Southeastern Massachusetts, including the Fall River Herald News.

“They paid about $4 million to $5 million more than they should have,” Kamen told WPRI.com. “Remember one thing: it’s what a publisher can do with the publishing entity; it’s not what the seller’s done with it. It’s what the buyer feels they could do. They have multiple ways to enhance revenue streams by coupling their operation with others from within their market that they own already.”

“They’re good people, and Kirk’s from the New England area,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful fit and I wish them well. They’ll definitely streamline and do anything else they have to do to make it more cost-effective. They have the infrastructure to do so. I expect that they will start to make some more changes to make it more efficient within the last quarter of this year.”

Kamen suggested GateHouse was motivated to pay a premium in part to ensure a competing newspaper chain didn’t get The Journal instead. “This decision wasn’t only made to drive revenue streams, but it was also to keep out one of the other big boys from coming into the market,” he said, adding: “It’s just a logical acquisition and I know it’s in very good hands with Kirk.”

Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the nonprofit Poynter Institute in Florida, reacted similarly.

“It is a generous price compared to some we have seen,” Edmonds told WPRI.com. “But a middle-market paper like Providence is probably easier to run profitably than a big metro like the [Boston] Globe. Also the local group may have bid up the price.” He noted the Alaska Daily News recently sold for $34 million.

Jon Chesto, managing editor of the Boston Business Journal and an expert on GateHouse Media, saw two major motivations for the company: to get control of the paper’s Kinsley Avenue printing plant, which it can use for its other publications and as a revenue driver; and to open up a new market for its growing Propel Marketing division, which helps small businesses enhance their presence online.

“So they’re paying a little bit more than I expected, but I do see the reasoning,” Chesto told WPRI.com. “It’s a strategic asset for them in a lot of ways. … [I]t fits into their geographic footprint like a glove.” He pointed out that GateHouse is working to consolidate its copy-editing operations at a central hub in Austin, Texas.

The Journal has remained profitable in recent years despite huge declines in advertising and a large decrease in circulation. The paper earned an operating profit of $6.4 million in 2013 on $90 million in revenue, according to a presentation for potential Journal buyers compiled by Stephens Inc., the investment bank that handled the deal.

There was widespread agreement among analysts Wednesday that GateHouse will probably cut jobs at The Journal once the deal closes, which is expected to happen by Sept. 30. But they said employees who work in back-office operations are at more risk than reporters.

“I expect some layoffs. I don’t expect a lot,” Kamen said. “I think that they will see how things sort themselves out and see where they could use staff in multiple ways. … They’re smart publishers.”

“Given that it’s a statewide paper with statewide reach and has already been significantly cut, I would expect to see cuts in other parts of the operation,” Ken Doctor, a media analyst at the research firm Outsell and the author of “Newsonomics,” told WPRI.com. He suggested there will be “a timely review of all of their operations especially focused on the question of where can GateHouse central services save us efficiency here.”

“I would say that there will be job cuts,” Chesto said. “First you’re probably going to see some of the back-office and administrative cuts.”

Edmonds said that “running lean is part of the GateHouse way – so I would not be surprised by further cuts beyond those already made.”

Linda Levin, professor emerita of journalism at the University of Rhode Island, noted that The Journal has already cut its staff by nearly half since 2008. “The sad thing with The Journal is there have been so many layoffs under Belo that it does make you pause and ask, are there any people left to lay off there?” she said.

Dan Kennedy, an associate professor at the Northeastern University School of Journalism and a longtime media watcher, expressed disappointment that the Rhode Island business community wasn’t able to cobble together enough money to put The Journal back under local ownership, as it was until 1997.

“There is no substitute for a newspaper that is fully invested in the community,” Kennedy wrote in a commentary on WGBH’s website. “I have no doubt that cuts will follow, just as they did when New Media/GateHouse last year purchased Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones community papers, including the Cape Cod Times and the Standard-Times of New Bedford.” But he also said GateHouse “deserves a chance to prove it will be good steward of the Journal.”

Levin countered there are many examples throughout history of local owners doing a poor job running a newspaper, and she said the pre-1940s Journal was one such example. “I don’t think local ownership is necessarily better than outside ownership,” she said. “It depends who the outsiders are.”

The Journal deal could present a business challenge for The Boston Globe, which currently has contracts to print some of the GateHouse papers, if the new owner shifts more of that work to the Rhode Island presses, Kennedy said.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

M&A A.H. Belo exits Providence newspaper market

By Jaewon Kang Updated 05:20 PM, Jul-23-2014 ET

pipeline-logoNewspaper publisher A.H. Belo Corp. will focus on the Texas market after unloading the Providence Journal 17 years after acquiring Rhode Island’s largest daily.

Dallas-based Belo, which announced in December that it was exploring a potential sale of the newspaper to concentrate on its native state, said after the market close on Tuesday that it is selling the Providence Journal to New Media Investment Group Inc. for $46 million. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.

“It didn’t make sense for [Belo] to run any major newspaper in Providence,” said Kevin Kamen, president of newspaper brokerage firm Kamen & Co. Group Services. “They need to stay in Texas where they are strong.”

After Belo sheds The Providence Journal, the company’s portfolio will consist of two Texas newspapers, the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The divestiture makes sense for Belo, Kamen explained, because the Providence Journal “has been going down in value significantly in the last 10 years.”

He explained that, unlike its profitable Texas division, the Providence Journal publication has seen a decrease in revenue streams and circulation.

Belo, in its 2013 annual report, noted as much, saying the newspaper experienced a drop in daily circulation to 104,938 last year from 113,284 in 2012.

By contrast, the company’s Dallas Morning News Group unit saw its daily circulation jump to 389,815 last year from 387,357 the year before.

Given the circulation drop, the $46 million price tag for the Providence Journal may have been too high, according to Kamen, who projected last year that the newspaper could be sold for $41 million.

He explained that New York City-based New Media may have been willing to write the check to “keep others from buying [the paper]” and to cement its position as a dominant newspaper owner in the New England region.

New Media is a parent company of GateHouse Media Inc., which filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington on Sept. 27, 2013. The company exited bankruptcy on Nov. 26 after swapping its debt for reorganized equity. Newcastle Investment Corp., owed $626 million, had majority control of the reorganized Gatehouse while the company’s other secured lenders owned the remainder through New Media, which is the entity they formed. New Media then assumed full ownership.

For New Media, the Providence Journal represents a larger property than it’s used to. The company owns 78 dailies and 235 weeklies, from the Bulletin in Norwich, Conn., to the Daily Report in Coldwater, Mich., to the Record in Stockton, Calif., to the El Dorado Times in El Dorado, Kans.

As for Belo, the sale of the publication is not likely to signal further sales, one industry source said.

The media company is likely to use the money from the transaction to bolster its operation in Texas, the source said, adding that Belo probably won’t explore selling its Texas assets because the Belo family owns and actively controls the publication.

Belo is not a newcomer to divestitures, having spun off its newspaper division in 2008 before selling its broadcast business to Gannett Co. Inc. for $2.2 billion in 2013. It also sold Riverside, Calif.-based Press- Enterprise to Freedom Communications Holdings Inc. for $27.25 million last year.

If anything, Belo could pursue smaller acquisitions and chase after weekly newspapers in the Texas region, Kamen & Co.’s Kamen said.

Deal activity in the newspaper market have been fluid this year. News Corp. sold its New York City community newspapers in June, less than a year after divesting its Dow Jones Local Media Group Inc. to an affiliate of private equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC. The Minneapolis Star Tribune was sold to Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, in June, too.

Belo, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker AHC, has a market capitalization of $246.13 million. Shares are up about 50% year to date, closing at $11.18 Wednesday.

New Media, which also trades on NYSE under the ticker NEWM, has a market cap of $436.73 million. Shares are up about 38% year to date, closing at $14.55 Wednesday.

@Copyright2013, TheDeal, LLC. Allrightsreserved.

Star Tribune sold to Timberwolves owner

pipeline-logo

By Jaewon Kang, Updated 05:25 PM, Jun-30-2014 ET

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is under new management again, with the owner of pro basketball’s Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday completing a deal for the newspaper at a price believed to be under $100 million — a far cry from the $1.2 billion it fetched in 1998.

Star Tribune Media Holdings Co. announced on Monday that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has purchased the newspaper for an undisclosed sum. Included in the deal is the publication’s production facilities in Minneapolis.

The newspaper and Taylor announced the acquisition on April 1 after a letter of intent was signed. Wayzata.

Investment Partners LLC had held a majority stake in the newspaper that serves Minneapolis, which is only 13 miles from Wayzata, Minn., where the private equity firm is based. Officials at the buyout firm couldn’t be reached.

Star Tribune Media said in a statement Monday that there won’t be changes to Star Tribune’s operations or management after the sale.

“The Star Tribune is not only a good business, it’s an important institution for all Minnesotans,” said Taylor in his own statement. “Our state and the region benefit from the presence here of a strong journalistic enterprise.”

Star Tribune Media didn’t disclose financial terms of the sale, but it’s likely valued around $90 million, according to Kevin Kamen, president of Kamen & Co. Group Services, a newspaper brokerage firm.

Such a figure represents a tremendous drop in value for the newspaper.

New York private equity firm Avista Capital Partners bought the newspaper from McClatchy Co. for $530 million in 2006, less than half the $1.2 billion McClatchy paid for the newspaper in 1998. Avista Capital owned 96% of the equity in the company, while the Christopher M. Harte 1992 Family Trust owned the balance, when it filed for Chapter 11 on Jan. 15, 2009, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

Wayzata acquired a majority stake upon Star Tribune’s exit from Chapter 11.

Star Tribune has carried out a strong turnaround since emerging out of bankruptcy, and Taylor, who owns a number of businesses besides the Timberwolves, will bring a synergy to the paper with his connections, Kamen asserted.

“Don’t be surprised if he begins to show interest in acquiring (other) publishing companies within a year or so,” Kamen said.

He declined to name specific newspapers, but he said Taylor could venture out in acquiring local weekly newspaper chains.

That is exactly what hotelier Douglas Westchester did after purchasing the San Diego Union-Tribune, said Gregg Knowles, owner of Knowles Media Brokerage Services.

Since the San Diego real estate developer bought the publication in 2011, Knowles said Westchester has picked up a dozen or so smaller newspapers because he saw the value in such publications. Compared to larger newspapers, smaller publications serving communities with populations of less than 50,000 have been doing well financially, he said, adding that a lot of the newspapers in the Minneapolis area are smaller.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press, the daily newspaper in that neighboring city, could be a potential buyout candidate for Star Tribune, according to Ken Doctor, a media analyst at Newsonomics, a media consulting firm.

While the Pioneer Press, owned by New York City-based Digital First Media, has not put itself on the auction block, Doctor pointed that it has been made substantial staff cuts as of late.

Calls to Digital First Media officials weren’t returned Monday.

Kamen & Co.’s Kamen said Taylor could invest in distribution or have the newspaper’s editorial team focus on hyperlocal news.

“If anything, there will be investments in the publication rather than realignments,” he said.

Taylor is the latest billionaire to scoop up a newspaper. Last summer, Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million, and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry purchased the Boston Globe for $70 million.

Faegre Baker Daniels LLP’s Bruce Engler, Ryan Miske, Brandon Mason and Brian Jacobson served as legal advisers for Star Tribune, and Stinson Leonard Street LLP for Taylor. Taylor’s Taylor Corp. officials couldn’t be reached Monday.

News Corp. sells NYC-area newspapers

pipeline-logo

By Jaewon Kang Updated 05:15 PM, Jun-24-2014 ET

News Corp. is unloading its community newspapers as Rupert Murdoch’s media company moves to focus on its larger print assets.
The New York-based company announced on June 23 that it has sold its Community Newspaper Group unit to Les and Jennifer Goodstein of NYC Community Media for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes 11 newspapers and magazines, with titles such as Brooklyn Paper, Bronx Times Reporter, TimesLedger, Wedding Guide and Sweet Sixteen Magazine. The publications reportedly went on sale about six months ago.
“[News Corp. is] going to be more focused on national media and larger media properties,” said Reed Phillips, managing partner of DeSilva+Phillips, a media-focused investment bank. “Any focus on community was an experiment.”
Les Goodstein of NYC Community Media is a good buyer for CNG, Phillips added, given his experience as a former News Corp. executive. In 2006, he led News Corp.’s purchase of community publications such as TimesLedger. His wife, Jennifer Goodstein, is publisher of NYC Community Media, which owns Manhattan papers such as The Villager, Downtown Express and Gay City News.
News Corp. spokeswoman Ashley Huston declined comment on the financial details of the transaction. But the deal is likely valued around $1.3 million, according to Kevin Kamen, president of print media brokerage firm Kamen & Co. Group Services.
“My hunch is that it would’ve received more money from another party, but they felt comfortable with selling it to [Goodstein],” he said.
Of the assets that were sold, he thinks the Queens weekly papers that are part of the package hold the most value.
“Papers in Brooklyn were not profitable,” Kamen said, noting that Queens tends to be a better market for newspapers and that weekly newspapers have the potential to “become very profitable” when operated properly.
News Corp. made its first acquisition in the community newspaper sphere in 2006 when it formed CNG and picked up more publications in later years. After the sale completes, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post will be the only U.S. newspapers in News Corp.’s portfolio.

Source Interlink begins its winddown

deal-pipeline-logo

By Jamie Mason And Jaewon Kang | Published June 10, 2014 at 9:43 AM

article-imageSource Interlink Distribution LLC has filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that it will be letting go 165 employees between now and Aug. 29 as part of the shutdown of its magazine distribution business, but the company said nearly 6,000 workers will feel the impact of the closure.

The Bonita Springs, Fla.-based company ceased operation on May 30 after Time Inc. stopped doing business with it.

Source Interlink is winding down with the help of a chief restructuring officer, according to the company’s chief administration officer, Stephanie Justice said.

While she declined to name the CRO, a Florida newspaper, the Naples News, identified Stephen Dubé, a senior managing director at FTI Consulting Inc., as the person in the post. Dubé and FTI Consulting declined to comment.

Through a restructuring last year, Source Interlink Cos. was split into two companies–Source Interlink Media and Source Interlink Distribution. The media company, which publishes magazines, recently rebranded itself as TEN – The Enthusiast Network. The Source Interlink Distribution situation has no impact on TEN, which continues to operate, Justice said.

Despite the number mentioned in the Florida WARN Act filing, she said that 6,000 employees would be effected, with approximately 1,200 being full-time and the remainder being part-time personnel. A small group of people, about 80 employees, were retained to assist the Source Interlink Distribution CRO during the winddown, Justice added.

“When Time notified them that they were pulling out, that’s when they lost all of their funding,” said Kevin Kamen, the CEO of print media brokerage firm Kamen & Co. Group. “It never pays to have all of your eggs in one basket.”

Time, likely Source Interlink Distribution’s largest customer, disclosed in a May 25 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had discontinued sales of publications to the wholesaler effective immediately after Source Interlink Distribution failed to pay $7 million in receivables that it owed the company.

Time also said that it wouldn’t be able to collect another $19 million from Source Interlink Distribution, either.

Time has moved its magazine distribution business over to TNG, formerly known as The News Group.

Time said it expects that it will take approximately 6 weeks to 12 weeks for the new distributor to fully ramp up its distribution capabilities to cover the additional retail outlets.

A spokeswoman for Time didn’t return calls for comment.

“The magazine distribution business has consolidated down to two major players now,” said Carl Salas, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service Inc. “The two major players are The News Group, which is the largest, and Hudson News, which is number two. Source Interlink was number two in the industry before they shut down their distribution arm. Another big player went bankrupt years ago, Anderson News LLC.”

(Anderson News was forced into Chapter 7 involuntarily on March 2, 2009, by a group of publishers. The case was converted to a voluntary Chapter 11 proceeding on Dec. 30, 2009. The company ceased its business operations on Feb. 7, 2009, and began to liquidate.)

“With just two major players now in the industry, the question is how will this impact pricing on distribution going forward,” Salas said. “How does the negotiating leverage among the publishers and distributors change?”

While Salas couldn’t comment specifically on Source Interlink Distribution and its magazine or distribution segments, he said that magazine distribution is a low-margin, competitive business.

“The overall volumes are declining because of the decline in print publications,” Salas explained. “When there are declining volumes in print media, there are declining distribution needs, so there has been a squeeze on margins. There has been a decline in the business over the last 20 years. In any declining business you have consolidation. It’s similar to what we have seen in directories and newspapers.”

Industry watchers said that it’s unlikely that Source Interlink would sell its distribution unit.

“It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to attract buyers,” said Kent Zimmerman of Zeughauser Group, a legal industry consulting firm.

He said Source Interlink probably won’t invest in the distribution business but will dissolve it instead.

If Source Interlink does want to sell the unit, though, it will have to look for buyers quickly, said Kamen & Co.’s Kamen. He said the longer the distribution business stays closed, the less valuable it will become.

But Kamen questioned the value of the unit even in a quick, attempted sale.

“It’s not going to be worth anything anymore,” he said. “They’ve damaged the product. Chance of them selling it off quickly, I’d say is 50-50.”

The distribution business has two assets, retail accounts and handling equipment, according to John Harrington, a partner at a media consulting firm called Harrington Associates LLC.

Retail accounts refer to sale history information, such as number of delivered copies. Handling equipment include trucks and other tools that are used in the distribution process.

Of the two, Harrington said retail accounts are more valuable because they would allow the buyer to create prospective sale profiles. Equipment value, meanwhile, is determined by whether they are leased or owned by Source Interlink. Players in the distribution business also tend to carry similar equipment, he explained.

Harrington noted that he’s not sure whether a sale is going to take place. But he said TNG is best-positioned to purchase most of the unit’s assets if it does hit the auction block.

In the meantime, the other former Source Interlink Co. operation, TEN, publishes niche magazines, such as car titles that include Hot Rod, Motor Trend and Truckin’. But things are looking gloomy on the editorial front, too.

Trade publications, Zeughauser Group’s Zimmerman said, have been hit particularly hard by changes in the media industry due to low capital investment.

Kamen, for one, believes TEN will end up having to sell these publications. If they do become available for sale, he expects there to be an interest.

“I don’t see anything good on the horizon for [TEN],” he asserted. “Their future is pretty much doomed.”

Lee County, Fla., is also trying to recoup $250,000 back from Source Interlink Distribution, Lee County Attorney Richard Wesch said in a phone interview.

He said he met last week with Dubé and other company officials, but they said they were not authorized to speak on behalf of Source Interlink, Wesch said.

According to a letter sent by Wesch to Source Interlink on June 2, Source Interlink received the $250,000 under Lee County First Incentive Award agreement on May 14, 2013. The agreement requires the company to maintain and create jobs in Lee County.

Source Interlink Cos. filed for bankruptcy protection on April 27, 2009, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington. The company blamed its bankruptcy filing on the fact that it was about to breach covenants on the debt it took on to acquire Primedia Enthusiast Media in May 2007 for $1.2 billion.

In that deal, Source Interlink Cos. acquired a slew of special-interest media including magazine titles such as Motor Trend, Soap Opera Digest, Snowboarder and Hot Rod.

Source Interlink Cos. had originally planned to pay off the acquisition debt through revenue generated from the acquired business, but the deal turned out to be ill-timed, as the economic downturn sapped the company of valuable advertising revenue and caused Source Interlink Cos. to miss its cash flow targets by a wide margin.

The company filed for Chapter 11 with a prepackaged reorganization plan that took the company private and wiped out Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. LLC’s stake in the company. Yucaipa affiliate AEC Associates LLC held 48% of Source Interlink Cos.

The company’s bank lenders swapped their debt for equity in the reorganized company, through the plan, which was confirmed on May 28, 2009. The company exited from Chapter 11 on June 19, 2009.

Source Interlink Cos. sold Alliance Entertainment Corp., a CD and DVD distributor, to a Platinum Equity LLC and the Gores Group LLC in 2010 for an undisclosed amount. The company acquired Alliance in 2005. Platinum and Gores have sold Alliance on Sept. 5, 2013, to music and video wholesaler Super D.

Data provider Bloomberg News listed $210 million in debt on Source Interlink Distribution’s most current balance sheet. The company has a $110 million first-lien term loan priced at Libor plus 500 basis points due Oct. 4, 2018. It also has a $100 million first-lien term loan priced at Libor plus 675 basis points maturing April 4, 2019. Cortland Capital Market Services LLC is the administrative agent on the debt.

Calls to Cortland Capital weren’t returned.

Source Interlink Distribution’s Justice wouldn’t comment on the company’s debt or financials.

According to Source Interlink Distribution’s website, asset manager GoldenTree Asset Management has an undisclosed ownership stake in the company.

Calls to GoldenTree were not returned.

Providence Journal up for sale

bostonglobe-logo-bg

By Callum Borchers
December 5, 2013
Another New England news institution is on the block, after the owner of the Providence Journal said Wednesday it is exploring a sale of the nation’s oldest continuously published daily newspaper.

The A.H. Belo Corp., the Texas firm that also owns The Dallas Morning News, has hired a financial services firm to solicit offers for the 184-year-old Journal, Rhode Island’s leading news publication. The company noted that it will sell the Journal only if it can find an appropriate buyer willing to pay a satisfactory price.

The Providence paper joins the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in being for sale at a time when the news industry continues to struggle with the loss of advertising for print products, and the rise of digital media competitors.

Other changes are also sweeping the media landscape in New England. The Cape Cod Times and the Standard-Times of New Bedford, along with several dozen smaller papers, were recently sold to GateHouse Media Inc., which itself just emerged from a bankruptcy reorganization to restructure $1.2 billion of debt.

Recent sales of other prominent newspapers suggest that Belo will get far less than what it paid for the Providence Journal 16 years ago, reflecting a broad devaluing of legacy media outlets in the digital information age.

Providence Journal reporter John Hill said Belo’s decision came as no surprise.
In October, Boston Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry bought the New England Media Group, which included The Boston Globe and the Worcester paper, from the New York Times Co. for $70 million. The Times Co. paid $1.1 billion for the Globe alone in 1993. In November, Henry said he would try to sell the Telegram to a locally based group in order to concentrate on running the Globe.

Also in October, the Graham family sold The Washington Post after four generations of ownership to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million.

Meanwhile, the social media site Tumblr sold for $1.1 billion to Yahoo in June. The valuation of digital media companies at large sums that once belonged to major papers like the Post and Globe crystallized a significant shift on the media landscape.

“The trend is fairly well formed,” said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit journalism think tank in St. Petersburg, Fla. “We had newspaper properties at the very worst, during the height of the recession, losing advertising revenue and they couldn’t be sold at all. The situation has improved now, to the extent that some buyers are stepping up and taking a civic value approach.”

In 1997, Belo purchased the paper and nine television stations owned by the then-Providence Journal Co. for $1.5 billion. Belo later created a separate company for its TV properties, and now is shopping only the newspaper.

Media appraiser Kevin B. Kamen, president of Kamen & Co. Group Services in Uniondale, N.Y., estimated the Journal’s value at $41 million.

“This is an elevator going down, down, down, and it’s unfortunate because it’s a quality paper,” Kamen said.

Belo issued a statement saying that selling the Journal would generate cash to help it concentrate on the Dallas market, a new priority the company outlined after its third-quarter earnings release.

“The Providence Journal is an important financial contributor to our company, and the newspaper’s commitment to the citizens of Providence and Rhode Island is unmatched,” Belo chief executive Jim Moroney said in the statement. “However, with A. H. Belo’s focus on investing and growing in Dallas, it makes sense to explore this opportunity.”

Providence Journal reporter John Hill, who heads the newspaper’s union, said Belo’s decision came as no surprise, as just two months ago it announced the $27 million sale of another daily in its portfolio, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. Hill described the mood in the newsroom after a staff meeting with publisher Howard G. Sutton as uncertain, but hopeful that a buyer committed to quality journalism will emerge.

“Unfortunately, within the newspaper business, uncertainty is normal,” Hill said. “But there’s also an opportunity here. I would compare it to the Globe’s situation: Does someone come out from Rhode Island and see it as the civic institution that we think it is, and care about more than the dollars-and-cents bottom line? That’s what we’re hoping for.”
Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.

Atlantic Flyer Newspaper Sold To Chicagoan

editor and publisher

August 21, 2013

Uniondale, NY – The 28- year old Atlantic Flyer niche aviation newspaper, a free distribution 17,500 circulated title owned by Sandy and Richard Porter of Guilford, Connecticut, has been sold to businessman Brian Columbus of Chicago, Illinois. Kevin Kamen, President/CEO of New York-based Kamen & Co. Group Services, a media appraisal and brokerage firm, secured the buyer and negotiated the sale. The deal closed Tuesday, August 20, 2013.

The Atlantic Flyer, which has a fine reputation and has been distributed at airports and aviation training schools for decades, allows its readers to become an active part of the “general aviation community” and currently focuses on the east coast. With nearly 900 distribution points, Atlantic Flyer is currently circulated from Maine to Florida

Richner Communications acquires L&M Publications

by Claude Solnik
Long Island Business News Published: August 9, 2013

Garden-City based Richner Communications has acquired L&M Publications’ assets, taking over Bellmore Life, Merrick Life, the Freeport-Baldwin Leader and Wantagh-Seaford Citizen weekly newspapers.

The deal for Linda Toscano and Paul Laursen to sell the publications to Richner, Long Island’s largest chain of weeklies, closed on Thursday. Terms of the transaction weren’t revealed.

Toscano, L&M’s publisher, won’t have a formal title or role at Richner, although Laursen, L&M’s managing editor, will remain involved with the publications under the new ownership.

“We’re selling to a company that can do better for our advertisers and readers and has economies of scale,” Toscano told LIBN on Friday. “The main reason was for the company to be successful and continue to serve the community.”

Toscano said Richner is taking on about half of L&M’s 20 employees. The rest were let go Thursday. Richner officials didn’t return calls seeking comment.

“They’re going into Freeport, Wantagh and Seaford where they didn’t have a newspaper,” said Kevin B. Kamen, president of Kamen & Co. Group Services, which represented L&M. “It opens up new markets for Richner Communications. It was an intelligent, strategic acquisition.”

Richner, a 15-paper group that stretches across the South Shore and in the Town of Hempstead, has been expanding by buying up smaller chains. The firm earlier explained its motives for the deal.

“It’s a strategically sound move for us,” Publisher Clifford Richner told LIBN last month after the deal was announced. “It will enable us to better meet the needs of our advertisers.”

L&M’s flagship newspaper, Merrick Life, was founded in 1938 with additional publications being added to the chain over the years. Kamen said L&M began talks with Richner about the acquisition in April.

“We were able to come to terms pretty quickly,” he said. “There were other offers involved.”

Richner has been growing by buying newspapers for a dozen years. It acquired the Nassau Community Newspaper Group in 2001 and purchased the more-than-a-century-old Oyster Bay Guardian from members of Cablevision’s Dolan family in 2010.

The deal for L&M’s assets is just the latest newspaper transaction to occur since Aug. 1

On Aug. 3, The New York Times Co. sold its New England Media Group, including the Boston Globe, to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million, far less than the $1.1 billion the Times had paid for the publication.

And on Monday, The Washington Post Co. announced it is selling its flagship paper and some additional assets to Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million.

“The landscape has changed drastically in the media world in the past few years. The digital components play a key role,” Kamen said. “Daily newspapers are struggling. Weekly newspapers are challenged, because of the competitiveness.”

Richner Communications was founded in 1964 by Robert and Edith Richner, parents of the current publishers.

In addition to the 15 Herald newspapers, Richner publishes The Oyster Bay Guardian, The Jewish Star and The Riverdale Press in the Bronx.

The company also publishes PrimeTime Xpress, a weekly shopping guide with 10 editions on the South Shore, and Xpress Coups, a quarterly coupon book.

The Richners also are principal owners of Broadstreet Media, which publishes weekly newspapers and shoppers in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Jersey, and the New Jersey Marketeer, a shopping publication in northern New Jersey.

How will Globe, Post sales affect Tribune?

By Lynne Marek  August 06,  2013

Today’s Headlines 8/6/2013

Copyright © 2013 Crain Communications, Inc.

Chicago Crain’s Business

For Tribune Co., the recently announced sales of the Washington Post Co. newspapers and the Boston Globe group make clear there’s still a market for major newspapers. But analysts say they’ll be worth more sold separately and sometime soon.

There were multiple bidders for each paper, according to published reports, a piece of good news in a depressed market for newspaper properties. The Tribune Co. newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun, could fetch between $725 million and $1 billion, reaching the higher end if they’re sold piecemeal, according to some industry analysts.

“Someone might offer $750 million,” said Kevin Kamen, who leads Uniondale, N.Y.-based media broker Kamen & Co. Group Services. “It’s not worth more than that — it’s probably not even worth that amount.”

Mr. Kamen estimates the value of the Chicago Tribune at $265 million and the Los Angeles Times at $375 million, if they’re sold individually. While local buyers may not be willing to bid for the whole group, they’ll pay more to consolidate their hold on the market, he said. The bidding process would probably take the total value of Tribune’s papers to the low $700 millions, he said.

New York Times Co. sold Boston Group’s newspapers last week for $70 million and the Washington Post Co. announced yesterday that it was selling its flagship paper and some suburban publishing assets for $250 million.

“You get more money if you piecemeal it out,” Mr. Kamen said. “Publications are worth more to people who are already in that market” because they can cross-sell with their existing businesses and cut duplicative costs, he said.

Chicago Sun-Times owner Wrapports LLC, led by Michael Ferro, earlier had expressed an interest in buying the Chicago Tribune while others, including billionaire executive Eli Broad, said they would bid for the Los Angeles Times.

BWS Financial Inc. analyst Hamed Khorsand, who has been following Tribune since it emerged from bankruptcy last year and its shares began trading publicly, said that he estimates the value of Tribune’s newspapers could reach closer to $1 billion based on the price per subscriber achieved in the Washington Post transaction.

Tribune’s publishing unit was valued at $623 million by its bankruptcy consultant Lazard LLC last year. Analysts agree the value of newspapers is declining as circulation continues to drop and advertisers seek other channels.

Tribune began seeking to sell the newspapers earlier this year but last month put that effort on hold and announced that it first would separate its publishing and broadcast units. The company said the spin-off could take as long as a year to execute, though the Chicago-based company could presumably continue to entertain interest from bidders.

The company’s new owners, who are creditors that took control of the company in January following its exit from four years of bankruptcy, are focusing on its broadcast assets in the face of the continuing decline in subscribers, advertisers and revenue at newspapers across the industry. Most newspapers, including the Tribune properties, are seeking to stem a decline in income by bulking up online and mobile operations, but so far that new income hasn’t offset losses.

Tribune stock has declined slightly, about 2 percent, since the Boston Globe deal was announced on Aug. 4, slipping to $62.80 in late afternoon trading today. The shares are still trading higher, though, than they were the day before the company announced it would spin off the publishing unit.

New York Times Company Sells Boston Globe

Jeff Bercovici – 8/3/2013
No one likes to sell in a down market. But for The New York Times Co., patience has proved awfully expensive.

The Times Co.’s sale of its New England Media Group to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for $70 million in cash represents a loss of more than $1.3 billion on the assets, which include the Boston Globe, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the website Boston.com. And it doesn’t even get the company out from under the Globe’s hefty pension obligations; the Times agreed to keep shouldering them as part of the deal.

The Sulzberger family, which controls the Times Co., bought the Globe’s then-parent, Affiliated Publications, for an eye-popping $1.1 billion in 1993. It then tacked on the Telegram & Gazette six years later, acquiring it from Chronicle Publishing for $295 million.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, with the deals coming just before and immediately after newspapers started slipping over the precipice created as first classified ad dollars and then readers started migrating to the internet.

Still, the Globe didn’t lose all of its value at once. In 2010, when entrepreneur Aaron Kushner came calling only to be turned away by Times Co. management, a sale would likely have fetched $120 million in the view of media appraiser Kevin Kamen. By February of this year, he’d adjusted his estimate down to $63 million, just $7 million off the actual price Henry paid. (Kamen was similarly on target in guessing how much Tribune Co. would sell Newsday for; Cablevision CVC +5.2% paid $650 million for it in 2008.)

Even as recently as February, the Times Co. had an offer on the table worth more than $100 million from former Globe president Rick Daniels and Boston Post Partners. Such a sale would have rid the Times of the pension liabilities and also satisfied the goal of returning the Globe to local ownership.

In the end, getting value for the Massachusetts assets was less important than the larger strategic goal of reorienting the Times Co. around a single global brand. The Globe was the last thing standing in the way of that. With the distractions dealt with once and for all, it’s time to see if publisher Arthur Sulzberger and CEO Mark Thompson truly have a vision for bringing The New York Times back to growth.

Richner Communications to acquire L&M Publications

Fri, Jul 12, 2013

Publishers Clifford and Stuart Richner announced July 10 that Richner Communications has agreed to acquire L&M Publications, a Long Island weekly  newspaper group that includes Merrick Life, Bellmore Life, The Freeport-Baldwin Leader and The Wantagh-Seaford Citizen. Both Richner Communications and L&M are privately held companies, and terms of the sale were not announced.

The sale is  expected to close this quarter. Baldwin’s  Kevin Kamen brokered the deal.

Stuart Richner said the acquisition will serve to expand the reach of the Herald Community Newspapers, Richner Communications’ 15-paper group, across the South Shore and solidify its place as the Town of Hempstead’s number-one community news outlet.

“It’s a strategically sound move for us,” said Cliff Richner. “It strengthens our presence in the Freeport, Merrick and Bellmore communities and extends our reach eastward into Wantagh and Seaford, something we have been wanting to do for some  time. It will enable us to better meet the needs of our advertisers.”

“It is great to be a part of Richner Communications and watch the company grow throughout the years,” said Rhonda Glickman, RCI’s vice president of sales. “This new acquisition will give us even greater strength. I look forward to meeting people in our new territories.”

L&M’s flagship newspaper, Merrick Life, was founded in 1938. Faith and Johannes Laursen, both daily newspaper journalists, purchased Merrick Life in 1958,  later adding Bellmore Life, The Freeport-Baldwin Leader and The Wantagh-Seaford Citizen to their newspaper mix. Their daughter, Linda Toscano, has led the papers for many years as publisher, while her brother, Paul Laursen, has served as editor.

Linda Toscano said, “We want to thank all of our staff, our family of subscribers as well as our advertisers and community activists for 55 years. Together, we helped  make a difference, raising railroad tracks, founding needed social services and cultural organizations, preserving land for future generations, building better business districts, informing voters and chronicling the very fabric of our lives. We trust our newspapers will each continue to be ‘the glue that helps hold a  community together and the spur that helps keep it moving forward.’

“How do we know this? Because the Richner family also has its roots steeped in printer’s ink. Like my father, Cliff Richner is a former president of the New York Press Association, the professional organization that has kept community journalism alive in  New York State. Herald Community Newspapers are the second largest employers of print journalists on Long Island. They are also out front in online journalism with  responsible news reporting.”

Paul Laursen added, “We have always admired the professionalism and  community service of the Herald newspapers and considered them worthy competitors who share our goals. We can count on Stuart and Clifford to ably continue our  decades-long efforts to  serve these South Shore communities.”

Cliff Richner offered high praise for the Laursen family. “I’ve always admired  their fierce independence and devotion to their local communities,” he said. “Faith Laursen was a force of nature in Merrick and Bellmore, and someone I considered a  mentor when I came to the community newspaper business.    “We hope to continue and strengthen their tradition of community leadership,” Richner added.

Herald Community Newspapers have their own strong tradition of independent-minded journalism, with an intensely local focus. The papers have long been known for  their top-quality journalism and advertising, as well as their political independence. The Heralds have won hundreds of awards from local, state and national press associations in recent years, often for their outspoken stands on community issues.

In the past 20 years, the Heralds have taken home the New York Press Association’s most  prestigious honor, its annual Community Leadership Award, a dozen times. Whether fighting to close a polluting power plant or to preserve Long Island’s dwindling open spaces and scenic wetlands, the Heralds have frequently been cited as a catalyst for community action.

Also a family affair, Richner Communications was founded by Robert and Edith Richner, parents of the current publishers, with the purchase of the Nassau Herald, which serves the Five Towns, and the Rockaway Journal in 1964. The papers trace their  roots to the founding of the Journal 1n 1883.

In addition to the 15 Herald Newspapers, Garden City-based Richner Communications publishes The Oyster Bay Guardian, The Jewish Star and The  Riverdale Press in the Bronx, and their affiliated websites. The company also publishes PrimeTime Xpress, a weekly shopping guide with 10 editions on the South Shore, and Xpress Coups, a quarterly coupon book.   Richner’s printing division is a leading  commercial printer of newspapers and periodicals in the greater New York area. The Richners are also principal owners of Broadstreet Media, which publishes weekly newspapers and shoppers in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Jersey, and the New Jersey Marketeer, a shopping publication in northern New Jersey.

Heslam: Many obstacles for new owner

Feb 21, 2013

The new owner of The Boston Globe will face a raft of decisions by taking the rudder of the struggling broadsheet — from cost-saving layoffs to investments in its digital platforms, to how best to milk its assets, including its profitable printing 
operation and its sizable real estate holdings, 
experts said.“Whoever buys this is going to immediately, within 60 to 90 days, have to eliminate — in my humble opinion — about 15 percent of the work staff,” said newspaper broker Kevin Kamen, president and CEO of Kamen & Co. Group Services in New York.

Jim Romenesko, editor of media blog jimromenesko
.com, also said there could be cuts — unless the new owner is someone like Aaron Kushner, the Wellesley greeting-card entrepreneur who sought to buy the Globe two years ago before purchasing the Orange County Register. Kushner’s group is bucking the cost-thrashing trend of the newspaper industry by adding more sections to the newspaper and hiring a small army of reporters.

“If Aaron Kushner buys it, he’ll beef it up,” Romenesko said. “Anyone else will probably slice and dice — and call it ‘rightsizing.’ ”

Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, called Kushner’s approach a “non-conforming strategy these days” but agreed it was a possibility for the Globe.

Kamen doesn’t believe a new owner would scuttle the paper and go all digital with its online platforms, boston.com and boston globe.com.

“They’re not going to pay all this money just to go digital,” Kamen explained. “Whoever buys it is going to want to put their feet down in Boston. Whoever buys this is going to have to immediately make cost-cutting changes and 
really focus in on hammering away at the competition.”

On the plus side, any new owner of the Globe could count on revenues from the paper’s profitable printing business. The Globe prints several other newspapers, including The Enterprise of Brockton, The Patriot Ledger and the Boston Herald.

But relying on the printing business likely would tie the new owner’s hands regarding the paper’s other huge asset, its Morrissey Boulevard property. One past Globe bidder sug­gested recently that whoever buys the paper would do well to relocate the staff and printing operation and then sell the Dorchester property.

Staff braces again as Globe on block

February 21, 2013 – The Boston Herald

The worst kept secret in town — that The Boston Globe is up for sale — 
became official yesterday when the paper’s New York owners publicly put it back on the block in a move that set off wild speculation about who will buy the beleaguered broadsheet and what’s in store for its staff.

The proposed sale — announced in a press release by its owner, The New York Times Co., that caught the Globe’s staff off guard — marks the second time the paper has been on the market since 2009. It also comes as key managers have jumped ship in recent months, among them editor Marty Baron and boston.com general manager Lisa DeSisto.

Industry experts predict it could be a tough sell for the Times, unless it takes on the tens of millions in Globe pension obligations.

“That presents a real stumbling block. They won’t find a buyer if the debts remain,” said Kevin Kamen, a newspaper broker from New York.

Kamen, who estimated the Globe’s worth at $63 million, said the Times “won’t be able to move this” in a timely manner or “get a decent amount of cash in return” unless they absorb the pension costs.

Old suitors, as well as some new ones, are likely to come forward and test the waters, according to one observer.

“I’m sure all the previous parties will at least take a look,” said Lou Ureneck, a Boston University professor who has studied newspaper economics. “It’s an organ­ization that is not on life 
support, and as a consequence, there will be an 
interested buyer.”

With banks no longer underwriting newspaper purchases, Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst for the Poynter Institute, said the most likely buyer this time would be “either a rich person or a group of rich people who … will put up the money to do this.”

Rick Daniels, the former Gatehouse Media New England president and Globe exec, and the private equity firm Boston Post Partners are reportedly in the mix, while James R. Houghton, the 
retired chairman of the board of Corning Inc., also has been floated as a potential buyer.

Stephen Taylor, whose family sold the Globe to the Times for $1.1 billion in 1993, could re-emerge as a player. Taylor was last linked to a group led by Aaron Kushner, a Wellesley businessman, who was looking to purchase the Globe two years ago and may still be interested as well.

Then there’s former Hub ad exec Jack Connors, who has been part of several groups that have sought to purchase the Globe over the past few years. Billionaire Warren Buffett, who bought more than 60 newspapers last year, could also emerge as a dark horse bidder.

Boston Mailers Union President Mary White said yesterday’s press release caught many staffers by surprise. “Every one of my members called, expressing surprise and concern,” White said. “Everyone is nervous, but why? Right now, there’s no need to be nervous. There’s so many different ways it can go. All we can do is sit and wait.”

Terrence Lomax, whose company, Think Forward Media, collaborates with the paper and works out of the Globe office, said he “saw it coming.”

“It’s not necessarily a bad move,” Lomax said. “Under new ownership they may be able to do more innovative things they’ve been wanting to do.”

The Times Co. said it retained investment firm Evercore Partners to handle the sale. Evercore managed the sale of the Philadelphia 
Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News last year. An Evercore spokesman declined comment. Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson said the sale of the Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette — its other major piece in its New England Media Group — is “in the best long-term interests of these properties and the employees who work for them as well as in the best interests of our shareholders.”

Jessica Heslam contributed to this report.

Kushner Tight-Lipped on Register’s Plans to Buck Industry Trend

Heidi Kulicke and Jerry Sullivan Monday, November 5, 2012
Orange County, CA Business Journal

Most investors don’t plunk down hundreds of millions of dollars for a company in an industry that’s awash in troubling trends that are seen by most observers as permanent problems.

But that’s what Aaron Kushner and his Boston-based 2100 Trust did in July, when it struck a deal for the Orange County Register, six other daily newspapers and various other publications owned by Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc.

Kushner won’t say what he paid for Freedom in the deal, which the Business Journal estimates at $200 million, with the Register accounting for about 75% of the price. He will acknowledge that it’s a contrarian play when it comes to daily newspapers in metro markets, a segment of the industry that has been in a steady decline that began in 2006, well before the recent recession.

“Certainly the margins will not be what they once were, and I don’t think we have a different view from anyone else on that,” Kushner said. “I do not believe that the industry is stable—a stable industry is one where revenue is flat.”

The Register is an exception, according to Kushner, and so is Orange County as a whole. He said the Register was “nicely profitable” and trending upward before its sale.

The industry as a whole continues to see revenue declines.

Estimates from mid-2011—gleaned from information made public when Freedom was in negotiations to sell the entire company—indicate the Register had an operating profit of about $20 million a year at the time.

Now Kushner is out to grow the Register, adding hires for sales and in the newsroom, where a rugged stretch that included a stint in bankruptcy had cut staff by about half.

Among the changes in the newsroom: more than 20 new hires, a business section that has been restored as a standalone, and various other regular features that have been added. Room for coverage of high school sports has increased dramatically, comics now run in color, and the opinion section has grown to three pages a day. An auto reviewer and restaurant critic have been hired, coverage of pro and college sports have been bolstered, and a movie critic is expected soon. A Sunday magazine for the Register is in the works, according to Kushner, and recent talks around OC points to the acquisition of other local publications.

Where’s the payoff?

Kushner talks in generalities, citing Orange County’s enviable demographics and diverse economy as fertile ground for circulation. That, he says, should lead to more ad sales.

All we really are at the end of the day is deep believers in the importance and value and power of major newspapers like the Orange County Register,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a particularly magic formula—it’s more a belief system.”

Not everyone sees that as enough. Editorial upgrades hold the potential to build circulation but are unlikely to bring additional ad revenue in the near future, according to Kevin Kamen, a 32-year veteran as a newspaper media appraiser/broker and owner of Kamen & Co. Group Services in New York.

“I don’t think the financial valuation of the company will grow,” Kamen said.

Orange County’s demographic are desirable, but they’re not unique, according to Kamen.

“Suburban America,” he said, citing Austin, Texas, as a comparable market.

The Austin American-Statesman laid off about 200 employees, more than a quarter of its total staff, about a year ago.

The Register does have demographic strengths— “an educated community, good readership, good base,” Kamen said.

But that’s a moving target, he said, especially when viewed against Kushner’s bid to emphasize the Register’s print product after several years that saw the publication work to push its digital presence. The Register closed its interactive group, which was dedicated to sales and brought in about 10% of advertising revenue, shortly after Kushner took over, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The loss of most of the revenue from the interactive group, along with the additional newsroom costs, have likely meant a significant hit to profits, the source said.

“I respect what he’s trying to do but he just has to juggle a few things at the same time,” industry analyst Kamen said. “He can’t focus on just print and editorial. He needs to be focusing on digital as well. People turn to their smartphones and laptops for news.”

Kushner is typically vague when it comes to the question of print versus online for the Register, although he says little to dissuade the general perception that print is the main driver of his plans.

“Some people ask if we’re a little crazy,” he said. “The short answer is no. Digital is necessary, but it’s not sufficient.”

The Register does plan to put its digital offering behind a paywall, a move that’s expected in coming months.

Kushner offered no specifics on the plan.

He’s mostly mum on his personal life, too. He said he plans to move with his family to Orange County from Boston at some point in the future, and will commute for a Monday-through-Friday workweek until then.

Kushner declines to discuss specifics of his prior business experience, which included a recent stint in the greeting card business.

He’s said to be interested in buying more publications, including the Los Angeles Times.

His politics seem to lean Democratic, according to some in OC electoral circles. He’s given money to several Democratic politicians, including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and onetime presidential contender Howard Dean. A check of records showed he’s also written checks for Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins of Maine and former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.

How does Kushner describe his politics? “Private” he said.

He has said he will continue to honor the Register’s Libertarian heritage, providing that perspective a consistent voice on commentary pages. Plans call for more perspectives, too, and Kushner said he sat in on more than 200 editorial board meetings in advance of this week’s elections.

Buyer in New League With Deal for Register

MEDIA: Principal’s track record points to significant step up

By Kari Hamanaka Saturday, June 16, 2012

ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA BUSINESS JOURNAL

Clues from Aaron Kushner’s past business ventures shed some light on how he went from a relative unknown in the media industry to a deal to buy the Orange County Register and its Irvine-based parent.

Kushner heads Boston-based 2100 Trust LLC, the privately held firm that agreed to buy Freedom Communications Holdings Inc. last week. The sale includes six other newspapers and various specialty publications and websites.

It appears to be significantly bigger than any prior deals Kushner has undertaken.

A sale price was not disclosed, but Freedom likely got $200 to $230 million, according to Kevin Kamen, who owns Kamen & Co. Group Services in New York and has 32 years experience as a newspaper appraiser, broker and consultant. Kamen did not work on the deal.

2100 Trust’s management includes Kushner and a consortium of former media executives including one-time Minneapolis Star-Tribune Publisher Chris Harte and Jack Griffin, a former chief executive of Time Inc.

The rest of 2100 Trust and any of its backers remain a mystery.

“He has some support behind him—he has other investors,” Kamen said. “In order to make a deal these days, you have to borrow and you have to be able to make money using other people’s money.”

Neither Kushner nor 2100 Trust could be reached for comment last week.

Register’s Value

Kamen estimated that the Register accounted for about $150 million of the price for Freedom.

That’s higher than industry reports on the recent sale of the U-T San Diego, which reportedly went for about $110 million late last year and operates in a market similar to the Register. The publication has a daily circulation for its print edition of about 220,000 compared to 161,000 for the Register.

Kamen’s higher estimate on the Register has some underpinnings in recent activity in the marketplace.

Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. just completed an estimated $200 million acquisition of its hometown Omaha World-Herald Co., which offers a ready benchmark on the Register and Freedom. The company operates the main daily newspaper in Omaha, which has circulation of about 131,000, along with six smaller publications.

Berkshire Hathaway isn’t new to the business. It has owned the Buffalo News for some time and is a longstanding shareholder in the Washington Post Co. And it’s struck other deals in recent weeks, including an agreement to pay $142 million deal for 63 relatively small daily and weekly publications owned by Media General Inc.

Manchester

U-T San Diego owner Manchester might have given Kushner’s group an unwitting assist on its bid to buy Freedom. Manchester had been identified as a bidder for the Register, with indications that a deal was imminent as recently as a few weeks ago. Various sources indicate that Manchester was only interested in the Register, and was aiming to get the paper for less than $100 million.

Then came 2100 Trust’s offer to buy all of Freedom’s remaining newspapers—the company got $385 million for its eight TV stations last year and sold several groups of newspapers around the U.S. in the months prior to its final deal.

Kushner’s Background

Kushner, reportedly still in his 30s, briefly worked for The Boston Consulting Group before launching Internet startup MyMove.com in 1996. The website allowed people to change their addresses online.

The company was sold for an undisclosed amount in 1999 to Massachusetts marketing services company Imagitas Inc., which was later acquired by Connecticut-based Pitney Bowes Inc.

Kushner stayed with Imagitas for two years before moving on to the greeting cards business. The industry wasn’t altogether unknown to Kushner, whose great grandfather launched Georgia-based greeting card publisher American Artists Group.

Kushner led a 2001 leveraged buyout of Massachusetts-based boutique greeting card company Marian Heath Greeting Cards LLC. He joined with business partner Dan Steever to raise what Kushner told the Wall Street Journal in 2006 was “a small portion of the price with our own and friends’ money, but clearly [we] we’re going to need an equity partner.”

The rest of the financing to get the deal done, according to the Wall Street Journal report, was through senior and mezzanine lenders in addition to Cincinnati-based Walnut Investment Partners LP.

Unclear

It is unclear how much Kushner and the other investors paid for Marian Heath. Walnut Group put up $2.5 million in financing for the deal and saw the total rise to $4 million in 2006, good for control of the company with a 40% stake.

Kushner was chief executive of Marian Heath for seven years, and oversaw the acquisition of competitor Renaissance Greeting Cards Inc., based in Wisconsin at the time, through another leveraged buyout in December 2005.

Kushner’s turn toward newspapers has been several years in the making. 2100 Trust tried to acquire the Boston Globe for about $200 million. The plan was derailed when the Globe’s owner, the New York Times Co. pulled the newspaper off the market.

Industry veteran Kamen said he expects 2100 Trust to pursue more deals.

“If somebody’s going to make an investment like this, they have to be thinking, ‘OK, let’s look at the entire region,’” Kamen said. 

Why the NY Times Is Selling Its Regional Newspapers

December 19, 2011

by Jeff Bercovici

Uneasy as the leadership of The New York Times Co. may be about their current financial situation, they remain confident their flagship newspaper has a bright future. The same can’t be said for the 16 small and medium-sized papers the company publishes in California and the southeastern U.S. The prospects for those papers have been dimming, to the point that the Times Co. has decided to cut them loose.

The company’s in “advanced discussions” to sell the Regional Media Group to Halifax Media Holdings LLC, owner of the Daytona Beach News Journal and other papers across the region. Media blogger Jim Romenesko broke news of the impending sale after noticing that Halifax had, apparently prematurely, added the papers’ names to its corporate website. No word yet on what the price might be, but media appraiser Kevin Kamen tells me the group “does not appear to be worth more than $65 million in total valuation.”

Why sell? For starters, the Regional Media Group’s fortunes have been trending downward. Its revenues were down 6.7% through the first nine months of 2011, versus a 0.4% dip for the New York Times itself and a 5.5% decline for the Boston Globe, which isn’t part of the sale.

Even more to the point, Times executives have made building up digital circulation revenues the central pillar of their strategy. But generating those revenues — ie. getting readers to pay to read news stories on computers, phones and tablets — is a daunting task for papers that lack the brand recognition of a paper like the Times. When Janet Robinson, the Times Co.’s soon-to-retire CEO, came to FORBES’s offices in September, she acknowledged as much. “It’s harder for regional papers,” she told us. “They are at the beginning stages of monetizing their digital future.”

Ironically, the very success of the Times’s digital edition is contributing to the declines of regional papers like the ones it owns. Digital delivery means readers outside the New York area no longer face a choice between paying more for the Times or settling for a second-rate local paper like, say, the Gainesville Sun. According to a Times spokesperson, 81% of the digital subscribers the Times has signed up since putting up its paywall last March live outside the New York market. For the print edition, only 62% of the subscribers live outside the market.

LI business and political leaders mixed on Newsday deal

BY JAMES BERNSTEIN | james.bernstein@newsday.com

10:36 AM EDT, May 12, 2008

Long Island business and political leaders offered mixed reactions Monday to news that Cablevision Systems Corp., the largest provider of cable television in the metropolitan area, had agreed to acquire Newsday, the only daily paper based on the Island.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), said he favored the deal.

“Chuck Dolan is Long Island,” King said in a phone interview. “It’s a step forward. I feel Chuck Dolan (Cablevision’s chairman) will bring a professionalism and integrity that’s been sorely lacking” under Chicago-based Tribune Corp., which agreed to sell Newsday.

“It’s good news because it ensures that Long Island has a separate newspaper,” King said. “Long Island is its own entity, and Chuck Dolan understands Long Island.”

Other bidders for Newsday had included News Corp., owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, and Morton Zuckerman, a real-estate magnate in Manhattan who owns the Daily News and U.S. News & World magazine.

Jaci Clement, executive director of the Fair Media Council, a Long Island-based organization that follows broadcast and print media, said the deal was not a good one for readers or advertisers.

“To have our major media voice all controlled by one outlet limits the amount of news and diversity,” Clement said. “When it comes to advertising, this is monopolistic and probably shuts out the 80,000 small businesses on the Island.”

But Irwin Kellner, chief economist for Capital One Bank, which has a large presence on Long Island, said the deal bodes well for both Newsday and Cablevision.

“I think it’s great,” said Kellner, who is also an economist for CBSMarketWatch.com. “It’s great for Newsday because it reduces the possibility of layoffs due to the overlap of journalists” that might have been the case if Newsday had been bought by News Corp., which owns the New York Post, or by Zuckerman.

“I also think it’s great for Cablevision because it gives them another media outlet and provides advertising synergy and a chance to broaden their customer base. I think it’s a win-win situation.”

Dennis Grabhorn, president of the Graphic Communications Conference, Local 406, which represents Newsday print-shop, delivery and editorial workers, took a cautious view on the deal.

“I would rather have a newspaper person taking control of Newsday” Grabhorn said. “But any owner willing to put the time and money to put Newsday back as one of the best newspapers in the country, I’m for it.”

“But if they (Cablevision) come in with the same attitude as Tribune and the same business philosophy, I don’t see this newspaper changing at all. I think it will just slip away.”

Kevin Kamen, president of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co. Group Services in Baldwin, said in an email Monday morning that the deal will allow Cablevision “a clear channel opportunity to expand and cross sell advertising across multiple broad channels…and will generate great financial rewards and benefits over the years.”

But, he said, while the deal will “please” shareholders, “unfortunately for the consumer, both editorially and financially, it is never a good idea to let one media conglomerate control pricing and editorial content.”

Staff Writer John Valenti contributed to this story.

Cablevision Unveils Deal For Tribune’s Newsday

By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG, SHIRA OVIDE and VISHESH KUMAR

May 12, 2008 9:27 a.m.

The Wall Street Journal

Tribune Co. announced a deal to sell its Long Island newspaper Newsday to Cablevision Systems Corp. for $650 million, in a move that will help relieve Tribune’s debt.

The bid from the Long Island-based cable operator bested matching $580 million offers from News Corp., which owns the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, and New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman. News Corp. had had an informal agreement for Newsday, but was unwilling to match Cablevision’s offer and revoked its bid on Saturday.

“It is both an honor and privilege to return Newsday back to Long Island-based ownership after nearly 40 years,” Cablevision Chairman Charles F. Dolan said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to maintaining Newsday’s journalistic integrity and important position in the market place.”

Under the agreement, Cablevision will have about 97% and Tribune about 3% of the equity in a partnership that owns Newsday. The deal was expected to be structured as a joint venture for tax reasons.

Tribune Chairman and CEO Sam Zell said: “This agreement enables us to maximize the value of Newsday and still retain an interest in this valuable asset.”

Cablevision will contribute newly issued bonds with a $650 million fair market value on the contribution date, withBank of America Corp. providing that amount of senior debt financing. Chicago-based Tribune will receive $612 million in cash, and an equity stake in the partnership valued at $20 million. It will also get $18 million as prepaid rent on certain facilities used in the business.

The Newsday businesses will report to Cablevision Chief Operating Officer Thomas Rutledge.

Clinching the deal puts Cablevision in control of Newsday and related assets, including the free New York City newspaper amNew York.

Newsday’s sale reflects the troubles of the newspaper industry. Mr. Zell, who led an $8.2 billion buyout of Tribune in December, had said he hadn’t wanted to sell any of the major papers. But conditions worsened. However, the deal also shows how certain local buyers see strategic value in individual newspapers.

The transaction will help Tribune dent nearly $13 billion of debt largely stemming from a December deal to go private. Tribune owes about $650 million in debt repayment before the end of this year. The company also faces rising interest expenses — $263 million in the first quarter alone.

With advertising declining quickly at Tribune’s newspapers, the company may face pressure to unload other properties to meet debt and interest payments next year. It owns papers including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and television stations. It is selling its Chicago Cubs baseball team.

While a Newsday deal will ease Tribune’s debt load, the company will lose an important asset. The daily and its related businesses had nearly $500 million in revenue last year, about 10% of Tribune’s revenue, according to the company’s annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For Cablevision, the Newsday acquisition provides an outlet to cross-sell advertising and promote its own services and properties in the New York area. As the company’s cable, telephone and Internet offerings face competition fromVerizon Communications Inc., Cablevision seems to be to doubling down on its local focus in an effort to retain customers. Last week, the company announced it would spend more than $300 million to build out a local wireless service.

Still, Cablevision has faced skepticism about its pursuit of Newsday. Some analysts have argued it would be better for shareholders if Cablevision were to return the cash it generates in the form of stock buybacks.

Cablevision could use its footprint in Long Island and adjacent areas of New York City to increase the newspaper’s circulation by about 100,000, predicts Kevin Kamen, chief executive of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co. Kamen & Co values newspapers and magazines internationally. Newsday currently has a weekday circulation of about 380,000.

The Newsday deal could mean changes in the New York media world. With the inclusion of Newsday, News Corp. could have improved the financial performance of the New York Post, which was expected to combine advertising, printing and other functions with Newsday. Now the Post is expected to be more aggressive in cutting costs and finding new revenue streams. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has said the company plans to double the cover price of the paper to 50 cents. He also said the paper had taken steps that would save more than $20 million in costs this year.

A Newsday takeover by either News Corp. or Mr. Zuckerman also was expected to face more regulatory hurdles than a Cablevision deal. Both rivals could have faced tougher antitrust scrutiny, given their existing New York newspaper holdings. Because of News Corp.’s ownership of two New York TV stations, a Newsday deal might have made it more difficult for the company to receive waivers from regulations that typically bar ownership of local newspapers and TV stations in the same market.

For his part, Mr. Zuckerman seemed unfazed by the outcome. Reached at his home Sunday, Mr. Zuckerman said he was taking a piano lesson, adding that his daughter had just expressed admiration for his rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Memory.”

http://www.portfolio.com/

Mixed Media

by Jeff Bercovici

May 11 2008 4:26PM EDT

Much Relief as Murdoch Gives Up on ‘Newsday’

Mort Zuckerman is one lucky man.

What could’ve been a doomsday scenario for Zuckerman’s New York Daily News receded over the horizon on Friday as Rupert Murdoch withdrew from the bidding for Newsday, saying it had “become uneconomical.”

Now, with no prospect of a NewsdayNew York Post joint venture cornering the local ad market, Zuckerman, who’s always seemed ambivalent about the newspaper business, is free to drop his own pursuit of Newsday. While Zuckerman hasn’t formally backed out, according to The New York Times, he’s made it clear that “he would not lose sleep” if Tribune accepts Cablevision’s $650 million offer.

As the kids once said: No duh. If anything, owning another paper is probably what would’ve given him bad dreams.

And while the Daily News is hardly in the catbird seat — Zuckerman has said it’s on the cusp of unprofitability — it could soon be in a stronger position if Murdoch follows through on his plan to raise the Post‘s cover price.

Cablevision’s wisdom in chasing Newsday has been widely questioned, but one analyst, media appraiser Kevin Kamen, predicts the acquisition “will mean more profits for Cablevision shareholders in three to five years….The valuation ofNewsday and its subsidiaries will climb in due course and the impact of Cablevision being able to offer its cable clients a cost effective subscription to Newsday will increase circulation.” The only losers, he says, will be consumers and advertisers on Long Island, where a single conglomerate will now have a near-monopoly on local media.

Cablevision move on Newsday under fire

BY MARK HARRINGTON | mark.harrington@newsday.com

3:33 PM EDT, May 5, 2008

Wall Street’s disenchantment with Cablevision Systems Corp.’s effort to buy Newsday, the paper in its Long Island backyard, has roots in the concern that owning a property in a “failing” industry could hurt the cable giant’s free cash flow, one analyst said Monday.

In a report to investors Monday morning, Craig Moffett, who tracks Bethpage-based Cablevision at securities firm, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Manhattan, expressed pessimism about the newspaper industry and Cablevision’s possible participation in it.

“Our recommendation of Cablevision shares rests on the prodigious free cash flow generation prospects of the Cablevision business, and — explicitly — on the return of that cash to shareholders,” wrote Moffett, who rates Cablevision shares “outperform” with a $45 per share price target. “It does not presume diversification into a failing industry.” Cablevision shares are up 14 cents Monday afternoon to $23.28.

The “failing” industry, Moffett wrote in a separate report released Monday, is the victim of free news on the Internet.

  •  “Put simply, the economic model of news gathering of maintaining costly overseas correspondents and news bureaus, of investigative journalists is being eviscerated,” Moffett wrote. “And it is being eviscerated by the Internet.”

    A Cablevision spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

    According to sources, Cablevision last week made a $650-million bid to buy Newsday in a deal that includes the newspaper’s Melville headquarters. Rival bids by News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch andDaily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman, at $580 million each, do not include real estate, sources have said.

    In an e-mail, Moffet suggested a Newsday-Cablevision combination presented strategic challenges.

    “I have no idea how they [Cablevision] would integrate Newsday,” he wrote. “Beyond the synergies of overlapping local ad sales forces, there’s not much ‘there’ there.”

    He also addressed an assertion in his report that the Cablevision board “was presumably asked in advance to authorize the action . . . and it acquiesced” to management’s pursuit of Newsday.

    “In general,” he explained, “a transaction of this size requires board approval in advance.”

    In addition to cash-flow worries, Moffett predicted that a Newsday-Cablevision combination isn’t going to be the regulatory cakewalk some expect.

    “While the FCC’s media-ownership rules do not spell out cable company ownership prohibitions in the same way they do cross ownership of newspapers and broadcasters, a Cablevision-Newsday combination would nevertheless raise some important public policy concerns that would likely garner scrutiny from the FCC and Congress,” Moffett wrote.

    “As the primary distributor of television content on Long Island via its dominant position as a cable operator, and as the sole ‘publisher’ of TV news on Long Island through its ownership of News Channel 12, a Cablevision bid would be just as problematic as a News Corp deal,” he said.

    Another media market watcher explained Cablevision’s interest in Newsday as primarily a matter of control.

    “This acquisition does three things for Cablevision,” wrote Kevin Kamen, president of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co. Group Services in Baldwin.

    “It provides the Dolan family with full control over the editorial debate-news media agenda on Long Islandsince it already owns the dominant television station, cable’s News12.

    “Secondly, it gives them leverage to directly monopolize the advertising agenda on Long Island, whether via digital or print, by offering one-stop shopping and pricing.

    “Lastly, by acquiring the other properties that are part of the Newsday family . . . it corners the market and helps them to better market and promote their entire entertainment and sports portfolio in a structured cross brand technique.”

Prediction: Newsday Bids Are Close to Maxing Out

  Jeff Bercovici

by: Jeff Bercovici posted on: May 05, 2008 | about stocks: CVC / NWS / NYT

Possibly you’re wondering why Cablevision (CVC) has inserted itself into a fight between a couple of partisan newspapermen for Newsday. Kevin Kamen, president of the media appraisal firm Kamen & Co., has a few thoughts on the subject, plus a prediction:

This acquisition does three things for Cablevision. It provides the Dolan family with full control over the editorial debate/news media agenda on Long Island since it already owns the dominant television station, cable’s News12. Secondly, it gives them leverage to directly monopolize the advertising agenda onLong Island, whether via digital or print, by offering one-stop shopping and pricing. Lastly, by acquiring the other properties that are part of the Newsday family — AM New YorkDistinction wedding magazine, Star Community Publishing, etc. — it corners the market and helps them to better market and promote their entire entertainment and sports portfolio in a structured cross brand technique.

Kamen’s disquisition also included a forecast that Newsday will eventually sell for eight to nine times its net profit of $80 million, putting the upper end of the range at $720. While Cablevision currently has the high bid, at $650 million,as The New York Times pointed out over the weekend, that bid assumes the sale will include Newsday‘s real estate, valued at up to $30 million. Under News Corp. (NWS) and Mort Zuckerman’s proposals, Tribune Co. would get to keep the real estate.

Murdoch firm on $580M Newsday bid, source says

BY MARK HARRINGTON | 

mark.harrington@newsday.comellen.yan@newsday.com

8:13 PM EDT, May 2, 2008  

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch appears willing to test just how good a hand he has in the three-way poker match for Newsday, with a source Friday suggesting the media baron won’t budge from his $580-million bid in response to Cablevision Systems Corp.’s $650-million offer.

Without elaborating, the source familiar with News Corp.’s bid would only say yesterday that the company “would not be raising its bid.”

Another source familiar with the Murdoch talks cautioned against assuming he was bowing out of the auction for Newsday. “We’ve entered a different phase. He’s playing cat and mouse with the other bidders, making them think they’ve got Newsday, and then he will swoop in with the higher offer,” the source said.

But one apparent difference between the Cablevision and Murdoch bids may in part explain the Cablevision premium, and Murdoch’s confidence: Cablevision’s offer may include “the building you are in right now,” a source familiar with Cablevision’s bid said Friday, referring to Newsday’s Melville complex. Murdoch’s offer excludes real estate, sources said.

 

Word of the real estate element of the Cablevision bid first appeared in a Chicago Tribune column Friday that also said former Tribune Co. chief executive Dennis FitzSimons was serving as an adviser to Cablevision. FitzSimons did not return calls seeking comment. Spokespeople for Bethpage-based Cablevision, News Corp. and Tribune declined to comment.

Murdoch also may be posturing in the face of a bidding war that benefits Tribune chief executive Sam Zell. The company is straining under a mountain of debt tied to Zell’s 2007 plan to take the company private. Zell “would be most happy if Rupert outbid [Cablevision founder Charles] Dolan because then he would get what he desires on both counts: a lot of cash and Murdoch’s goodwill,” one source close to the negotiations said.

When Murdoch last year bid to buy Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal, he offered $5 billion in May — a price that stuck when the deal was finalized in August.

“I sense that Murdoch does not like to get into bidding situations,” said Edward Atorino, a media analyst for Benchmark Co., a Manhattan-based brokerage. “He likes to give you a price and you either take it or leave it and he moves on.”

Still uncertain is how Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman will respond. A spokesman for Zuckerman declined to comment.

“I think Zuckerman is coming back with a big offer and that Cablevision is prepared to go higher,” said Kevin Kamen, president of Kamen Group Services in Baldwin.

Cablevision’s $650-million offer wasn’t its first, sources close to the Zell-Murdoch talks said. Initially it offered $500 million for Newsday and then recently added $150 million to the bid, the sources said. It is unclear when the first bid was made.

Analysts who track Cablevision said it could buy Newsday for $650 million without significant financial stress. If Dolan become Newsday’s new owner, Cablevision would carry “about the same debt load as they went into the year,” said analyst Chris Marangi, of Gabelli & Co., which owns Cablevision shares. A February report by Gabelli investment house said Cablevision’s projected debt load would drop from $10.238 billion in 2007 to $9.566 billion in 2008, freeing up about $650 million in cash flow this year. That means its bid would match the amount of free cash flow this year.

Marangi said Cablevision might be more than capable of paying even more if there is a protracted competition with Murdoch and Zuckerman.

The Dolan family has “the capacity to pay a lot more” for Newsday, said Marangi. “It’s a trophy for them.” He also pointed out that Newsday’s estimated $70 million to $80 million profit for this year would also help defray the purchase cost.

Although Wall Street investors might not like the idea of buying a newspaper at a time when print values are depressed, media analyst and investor Porter Bibb said Dolan might be willing to add debt as well as part of a strategy to dissuade any possible hostile takeover bids in the future. Bibb said that adding Newsday print and online advertising to Cablevision’s existing cable, broadcast and online offerings would give it a much stronger presence in Long Island’s advertising market.

This story was reported by Mark Harrington, Ellen Yan, James T. Madore and Thomas Maier. It was written by Harrington.

Third bidder joins race to buy Newsday

1 May 2008

By Jeffrey Blyth

A third company has entered the bidding for Newsday, the New York suburban daily.

Cablevision, a major entertainment conglomerate, which provides a high speed internet service, cable tv and sports and entertainment programmes in New York and neighbouring states, is about to make a bid which reportedly would top the offer of both Rupert Murdoch and his newspaper rival, Mort Zuckerman. The figure’s Around $650 million, which is $70 million more than the others have offered.

Although Murdoch supposedly has a handshake agreement with The Tribune Company, the owners of Newsday, the extra millions are expected to be attractive.

There is a prediction that if the bidding really heats up the figure could reach as high as $675 million – or close to £350 million. Kevin Kamen, the head of one big media appraisal company, Kamen & Co, commented: “Murdoch wants Newsday in the worst way, so I would not be surprised if the bidding really escalates”

Cablevision is a company with deep pockets. Started 35 years ago with l,500 customers, its internet and cable network now serves around 4,500,000 households and 500,000 business customers in the New York area.

It also owns Madison Square Garden – from which a lot of its sport and entertainment programmes originate – as well as the Ziegfeld Theatre and Radio City Music Hall, plus the historic Beacon Theatre on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where many jazz and pop music concerts are recorded.

Still an issue is the regulation that limits the ownership of media companies in one specific city or area of the country – a rule that has been little enforced in recent years.but could affect Murdoch’s bid.

At the same time it is felt that Murdoch will be able to get around the rule by claiming that his ownership of Newsday would be of benefit to the media in general – as well as financially bolstering his money-losing New York Post.

Sources: $650M Cablevision bid for Newsday coming soon

By James T. Madore and Mark Harrington | Newsday Staff Writers

4:28 PM EDT, April 30, 2008

Cablevision Systems Corp. appears to have joined the bidding for Newsday, offering $650 million for the newspaper, or $70 million more than two other suitors, according to knowledgeable sources.

The cable giant made its interest in owning Newsday known to Sam Zell, chief executive of the paper’s parent Tribune Co. A formal bid is expected in the next few days, according to sources familiar with Zell’s talks with News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch.

Few details were known about the Cablevision offer except that it would be a joint venture where Tribune retains a limited ownership of Newsday to reduce capital gains tax, the sources said. They also said it was believed that Cablevision is going solo in its bid rather than partnering with the New York Observer, which had been discussed earlier.

A Cablevision spokesman declined to comment, as did one for the Observer.

The size of Cablevision’s offer got the attention of Zell, who has been enamored with Murdoch. “You cannot ignore a $70 million gain, but my guess is Rupert will top this,” said one source. Murdoch recently awarded Tribune’s San Diego television station an affiliation with his Fox Network.

Murdoch reportedly reached a handshake agreement with Zell for Newsday and its subsidiaries about 10 days ago. But a substantial increase like that expected from Cablevision would force the New York Post owner to revisit his bid. Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman also has a standing $580 million offer for Newsday.

After matching Murdoch’s bid, Zuckerman said his was more attractive because it didn’t face a high hurdle with the Federal Communications Commission.

But a source said yesterday that Zell believes Murdoch could convince regulators that owning Newsday would keep more journalistic voices in the metropolitan area by bolstering his money-losing New York Post.

“Sam has great confidence in Rupert. He thinks he can sway the FCC,” the source said.

One person closely watching the negotiations said he expects Murdoch to top any Cablevision offer.

“Murdoch wants Newsday in the worst way, so I would not be surprised this escalates to a higher number,” said Kevin Kamen, president of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co. Group Services in Baldwin.

Kamen had predicted a “low $600 million” offer from Cablevision in a Newsday story earlier this week. Now, he said, the bidding could reach $675 million or higher.

“This is a horse race now,” said Kamen, adding, “I don’t think we’ve heard the end of Zuckerman” as well.

Spokesmen for News Corp., Zuckerman and Tribune declined comment.

Cablevision poised on Newsday bid; Al D’Amato’s role seen

 Cablevision Systems Corp. appears poised to make an end-around bid for Newsday this week with an offer expected to top two competing $580-million bids by media barons Rupert Murdoch and Mortimer Zuckerman, according to sources familiar with the matter.

But while Cablevision’s controlling Dolan family may be willing to up the ante, they apparently do not have the behind-the-scenes influence that News Corp. Chairman Murdoch has been employing to smooth the Newsday purchase with local politicians: former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato.

D’Amato, whose Park Strategies Washington Group Llc is listed as a lobbyist for News Corp., last week made introductory phone calls for Murdoch to Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), among others, both officials acknowledged.

“I’ve had several conversations with Al about this in the past weeks,” said King. “Al has great respect for Rupert Murdoch.” 

Since 2006, D’Amato and Park Strategies have been paid $160,000 to represent News Corp. before the Federal Communications Commission and Congress on “matters relating to telecommunications, media and broadcasting,” according to federal records. D’Amato’s firm declined comment yesterday, as did News Corp.

Unclear Monday was just how much the Dolans might be willing to pony up for Newsday, or whether the cable giant would move forward with an offer in conjunction with New York Observer owner Jared Kushner. Spokesmen for the companies declined to comment.

Cablevision and Observer officials are expected to meet again in the next few days to discuss their possible venture, one source said. The Observer, in any case, is not prepared to go it alone, the source said.

An expert following the bidding, who suggested Cablevision’s interest in Newsday would likely drive the sale price higher, into the low $600-million range, said its interest is as much about strengthening its local empire as locking out other media players.

“Make no mistake about it, the Dolan family does not want Murdoch or Zuckerman staking out camp in Melville,” where Newsday is based, said Kevin Kamen, president and chief executive of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co. Group Services in Baldwin. “They believe this is their market.”

Any escalation of the bidding could play into the hands of Tribune chief executive Sam Zell, who is working to amass cash for large debt payments tied to the transaction that took Tribune private. As such, Zell hasn’t set a formal deadline for bids but would like to receive them soon, said one source familiar with the Zell-Murdoch talks. “He doesn’t want to drag this out. After all, he and Rupert have already reached an agreement in principle for Newsday,” the source said.

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman declined to comment Monday.

This story was reported by James T. Madore, Thomas Maier and Mark Harrington. It was written by Harrington.

Newspapers counter competition from craigslist with free classified ad space

The Business Review (Albany) – by Pam Allen The Business Review

  •  Consumers are learning that Craigslist may be a good forum for inexpensive items, but is hit-or-miss for job searches and real estate sales, said Brian Steffens, executive director of the National Newspaper Association, a trade group representing 3,500 weeklies and small daily newspapers.

What these free Web sites have changed is the industry’s negative perception of personal ads. Personal advertising brings in about $1 million a year in sales.

“Until craigslist, newspapers shied away from personals because they were a bit too racy for them,” he said.

Craigslist and other online advertising services are hurting newspapers to some degree, said Kevin Kamen, owner ofKamen & Co. Group Services on Long Island, a print and digital media appraisal and brokerage firm.

Publishers used to earn 60 percent of their profits from classified ads, but now it’s only about 30 percent.

Online services aren’t solely to blame, though. The slowdown in the real estate market has also cut into classified revenue.

“A smart publisher whose classifieds are going down would enhance and upgrade their classified sales division and really put people to work to raid competitors as well as to seek advertisers out there,” Kamen said.

In an August 4, 2007, interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, craigslist founder Craig Newmark acknowledged the Web site is causing problems for the newspaper industry because it’s taking away classified ad revenue. But he maintained newspapers are hurt more by Wall Street investors pressuring companies to cut costs and earn bigger profits, which has resulted in newsroom layoffs.

“We do have an effect and it’s probably somehow significant,” Newmark said, “but it’s small compared to the profit margin thing.”

Baldwin Public Library Names Kamen Community Room

Baldwin Public Library Names Kamen Community Room

Published on Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Baldwin Public Library is proud to announce that its community room will be named The Kevin B. Kamen Community Room to honor its outgoing president, who has retired from the board of trustees after 30 years of service.

The board voted unanimously to dedicate the community room in honor of Mr. Kamen at its June 11, 2008 meeting, as he was the person most instrumental in making possible the beautiful, full-service center of community activities that the library has become today. Naming this space for him is a fitting recognition of his more than three decades of unwavering commitment and dedicated service to both the library and the Baldwin community.

Mr. Kamen is president/CEO of Kamen & Co. Group Services, a print and digital media appraisal and brokerage firm in New York (www.KAMENGROUP.com). The library is located at 2385 Grand Avenue in Baldwin.

TWN – The Washington Newspaper

August 2008 – Volume 93 No.8, Page 5

www.wnpa.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

Kamen talks about media challenges

Firm’s report calls for more flexibility, diversity on Web, listening to readers

Baldwin, New York – Kamen & Co. Group Services, a leading provider of print and digital media financial valuations to the publishing, listing, direct and interactive industry released a report today on major challenges and opportunities facing the media industry and is recommending that in order to beat competition and to grow revenues to new heights media executives will need to be innovative, diversified and willing to adapt more effectively to the changing dynamics of online publishing. “To meet the new and challenging economic needs of today and tomorrow media organizations must push e-business, maximize production from both sales and editorial, do a better job negotiating more equitable salary agreements with staff, cross-channel vertical marketing efforts, listen more carefully to readers and get deeply involved in reader generated blogs and universal input,” said Kevin B. Kamen, president and chief executive officer of the New York based media valuation and brokerage firm.

Kamen continued, “Many publishing organizations are indeed pro-active and innovative but often they are isolated and unwilling to share their success stories and this must change. Being prudent and sensible is smart business but we all must share our experiences and learn from one another. The media industry is changing daily and it is a defining moment for the trade. Publishers need to discover new alternatives, better concepts and become stronger business agents or the end result will naturally become weaker profit margins for all.”

Besides highlighting these approaches, the report aims to provide a broad range of media leaders and stakeholders with a better understanding of operational strategies that can help to address the effects of both technological streamlining and better developing meaningful ways of generating an exchange of ideas that would extend across institutions and borders as research continues to flow across executive chambers.

The report focuses on fundamental challenges faced by the media trade on a worldwide basis and provides critical responses to those challenges. The report also outlines steps that some media institutions are taking to respond to new demands:

The strategic use of technology and the basic components of achieving success at various types of media institutions.

The use of communication and community building tools to improve industry engagement

The development and advancement of e-systems to better monitor and improve financial institutional assessment and accountability for all media operators and their agents.

Suffolk Life to shut down

By Michael H. Samuels

Thursday, June 19, 2008 09:16 AM EDT

Suffolk Life Newspapers is closing down as early as next week, according to numerous industry sources. The Riverhead-based media company, which delivers weekly newspapers through the mail to most Suffolk County communities, is shuttering its offices after being in business more than 47 years.

Company managers were told of the decision Tuesday. The rest of the staff was told Wednesday morning.

Details about the company’s future plans or employee severance packages are still unknown.

Suffolk Life is the latest media company to fall victim to the struggling economy and lagging advertising revenues plaguing the newspaper business.

Kevin Kamen, president and chief executive of Kamen and Co. Group Services, a print and digital media appraisal firm, said he was saddened by the news.

“It’s a difficult situation,” Kamen said. “A lot of people are going to be losing their jobs. It’s a bad message. It’s bad news for the economy on Long Island.”

He said he’s seen similar media companies fold throughout the country, but didn’t expect it to happen on Long Island so soon.

He said more media companies on Long Island will either close or become consolidated once Cablevision wraps ups its acquisition of Newsday. He added that Cablevision’s reach in print, television and the Internet will lead to increased competition for limited advertising opportunities.

“I am surprised because they had a pretty decent reputation,” said Kamen. “It is a difficult market right now for all of these publications. They’re all struggling. Nine out of 10 newspapers we appraise throughout the country are losing money.”

Suffolk Life Newspapers was founded in 1961 by David J. Willmott as a shopper-style paper with just more than 9,600 in circulation, according to the paper’s Web site. Published each Wednesday, its site boasts printing 35 editions and being the largest weekly paper east of the Mississippi with total circulation of more than 545,000 copies throughout Suffolk County.

Suffolk Life’s death and the connection to Cablevision and Newsday

Bloggers

Noel Rubinton

Blogroll

Suffolk Life’s death and the connection to Cablevision and Newsday

There’s likely been plenty of RIP Suffolk Life talk around water coolers and computers on Long Island today. The quirky institution, so tightly connected with founder Dave Willmott Sr., will close down next week after 46 years.

The demise of Suffolk Life is widely seen as part of a wider media story on Long Island and it’s being summarized in one word: consolidation. Or maybe monopoly. In the the LI Biz Blog of Long Island Business News today, Henry E. Powderly II talks to media appraiser Kevin Kamen. Kamen says, “The publishing community on Long Island has just felt the first of what will unfortunately become many more blows to follow as Suffolk Life Newspapers will soon be closing its doors. This is a sad commentary on the entire publishing community on Long Island and is indicative of what could soon follow with the recent Newsday sale to Cablevision.”

Later on, Kamen adds, “Once the Newsday sale on Long Island (owned by Tribune Co of Chicago) is finalized with Cablevision you should see a big push to market the entire Nassau-Suffolk region by Cablevision in a way that few have seen advertising cross-sold before in the NY metro region.”

But it’s not all about Newsday and Cablevision, says Kamen: “It is much deeper. It is about how the publishing community has to streamline and become better marketing agents for its properties…Publishers need to unite in better promoting their print products and must use more discretion in spending money. Clearly, publishers must become better business operators yet should never forget that their business is covering the news and that they have to do that exceptionally well by keeping their focus on local content that is relevant to each consumer.”

–Noel Rubinton, Newsday

 

Posted by Noel Rubinton on June 19, 2008 5:06 PM

News in Brief — Vol. 22, NO. 5 – June 2008, Print Edition – the INLANDER

Kamen & Co. will appraise online media, advise on online mergers

Baldwin, N.Y. — Kamen & Co. Group Services, a print and digital media financial valuation firm and brokerage, will begin valuing all types of online media and technology business enterprises starting June 6. This includes online video ad networks, search engines, mobile and interactive platforms and related business entities. The firm will also act as a financial advisor for potential merger and acquisition purposes as it presently does to the print and digital trade.

Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen: Microsoft Could Soon Acquire Yahoo For $50 Billion

May 21, 2008 – Wikio In The News Report

Baldwin, NY – New York-based Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen predicts that Internet search and advertising giant Yahoo will soon be sold to Microsoft for $50 billion. Kamen stated, ” Clearly, as of Monday morning, all signals from Redmond point to a Microsoft offer of around $35 per share coming soon as it remains active in its pursuit of Yahoo. With Yahoo shareholders seeking a revolution to overtake the present board of directors and investor Carl Icahn leading the brigade by threatening to replace the Yahoo board before July 3, a sudden change of ownership looks less and less bizarre and indeed quite likely to unfold. This is no longer just a threat for Yahoo’s Jerry Lang; it is a case of survival and the lines have been drawn. With so much unrest directed at Jerry Lang as of this juncture, Steve Ballmer has identified a clear opening for Microsoft and we suspect he will shortly increase his recent offer of $47.5 billion, up the ante to $50 billion and close the deal within weeks.” Kamen concluded, ” Lang needs to save face and would do so by bringing in another $2.5 billion for Yahoo investors and, with Microsoft desperately in need of increasing its internet search and advertising model, a long-term alliance seems viable whereas it did not a month ago. Too much unrest at Yahoo and the genuine need for Microsoft to not be a secondary force in the online services search arena has changed the landscape of this potential deal. Without question, Yahoo is the key component that could provide an immediate impact for Microsoft and Ballmer knows this.”

U.S. publishers peering northward

Masthead Homepage

U.S. publishers peering northward

BALDWIN, N.Y.? Kevin Kamen says U.S.-based print media executives have expressed so much interest in Canada that he is expanding his service northward.

Kevin Kamen

Media appraiser and brokerage firm Kamen & Co. Group Services is also expanding overseas in the U.K. and Ireland for the same reason. It currently has an office here and in Tampa. The company offers labour negotiation services, business planning, appraisals, feasibility and market analysis, circulation building and executive/staff training.

In a recent interview, Kamen said that in the past six months between 15 and 20 American publishers have expressed an interest in partnering with or partially acquiring Canadian media companies. Current ownership rules limit foreign companies to a 49% stake in existing domestic media operations although foreign investors can finance and own 100% of a Canadian start-up. “They are interested in making inroads into Canada,” says Kamen of his U.S. clients. “They wouldn’t make a major investment without doing due diligence.” That’s where Kamen & Co. would come in; Canadian publishers interested in partnering or selling a stake in their business would open their books to Kamen & Co. as part of the due diligence and valuation process. Kamen says he will not be opening a physical office in Canada.

One Man Band

LIBN 

By Ambrose Clancy

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cablevision’s James Dolan is about to become the king of Long Island media, and advertisers are planning on paying more to the monarch as a result.

The Bethpage-based cable operator’s deal to acquire Newsday for $650 million gives Dolan new toys to add to his platform of television, entertainment and Internet advertising opportunities. After the deal, print classifieds, newspaper display ads and special magazines will all fall under Dolan control, so everywhere a business turns to advertise, it will run into Cablevision.

“There’s no question ad rates in both Newsday and on Cablevision will rise substantially,” said Kevin Kamen, owner ofBaldwin’s Kamen & Co. Group Services, a media appraiser and broker that specializes in print & digital media sales. The lack of competition could lead Cablevision to up its rates as early as 12 months from now. Currently, for display ads, an average full-page Sunday ad in Newsday running in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens costs about $30,000. During the week, the same ad costs about $27,000.

A three-line classified auto ad costs $158 and runs for two weeks in the paper and online. A real estate ad with the same package comes to $828.

Cablevision also could raise rates to pay off debt from the deal.

Bob Papper, chair of the Department of Journalism, Media Studies and Public Relations at Hofstra University in Hempstead, said when one newspaper acquires another it cuts expenses by consolidating operations such as circulation and printing.

“Cablevision can’t do that,” Papper said, since the telecommunications company doesn’t have its own circulation and printing arm.

While raising prices during a down economy is considered a losing proposition, Cablevision could get away with doing so because of all its extra services.

For example, Cablevision offers advertisers a chance to cut out ad agencies.

Both Newsday and Cablevision have in-house advertising agencies that compete against independent agencies, saidEd Brennan, a partner at Rockville Centre-based advertising agency Harrison Leifer DiMarco.

“They offer, particularly to retailers, advertising and creative services so the client doesn’t need an agency,” Brennan said.

One consolidated advertising agency handling both Newsday and Cablevision could hurt local agencies, which are already struggling due to a soft local economy, Brennan said. He added that one of the key advantages of going with an independent agency is that it can negotiate favorable rates for the client.

Cablevision also offers extensive online classified advertising possibilities, such as selling cars on Optimum Auto and homes on its Optimum Homes platform. All of that could be a boon to Newsday’s Pennysaver if Cablevision leverages its classified platform to put Pennysaver ads online.

That could be bad news for Pennysaver competitor Stan Henry, who runs The Neighbor Newspapers.

“Online is here,” Henry said. “The world is going to change.”

As for Cablevision’s newfound editorial empire, Papper is cautious. He said it might not be a good idea to converge Newsday and News 12 Long Island, its television network.

Papper cited a deal in Florida, in which Media General, a communications company based in Richmond, Va., merged The Tampa Tribune with the local NBC affiliate, WFLA-TV. The parent company put everyone in the same building.

“There were visions of super-journalists going out to write a story, then do a TV story and then file it online,” Papper said. “But the parties are not playing well together.”

Asking people to change core cultures and acquire new skill sets overnight hasn’t worked in Tampa. Eight years later, the grand vision is “still very much a work in progress,” Papper said.

Ambrose Clancy can be reached at ambrose.clancy@libn.com.

“Newsday” Sale Gives Tribune Co. Breathing Space

Tribune Co.’s sale of Newsday to Cablevision allows Tribune and its new chairman, Sam Zell, to put $600 million in expected cash proceeds toward its roughly $13 billion debt. This buys Tribune Co. more time to implement plans to turn around the business.

Tribune is also working on the sale of its Chicago Cubs baseball team, writes the Wall Street Journal.

Having snared Newsday from Tribune Co., Cablevision broadly outlined plans to make the paper more profitable by boosting circulation and giving advertisers more effective ways to reach audiences.

The company plans to better market the newspaper to households in the areas it serves, and offer advertisers a selection among media outlets.

Cablevision’s chief, James Dolan, acknowledged yesterday that he is not a “newspaper man,” but says his company’s purchase of the newspaper will help bolster its long-term outlook. “We weren’t looking to purchase it and then cut costs,” he is quoted as saying in Newsday. “We were looking to build a business.”

Cablevision beat out a $580 million offer from both New York Post owner News Corp. and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman. Both companies had hoped to cut costs by combining operations.

The company faces an uphill battle proving to investors that a purchase of a newspaper is not a losing venture, saysJessica Reif Cohen, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, in a note to investors.

Other observers, like Kevin Kamen, chief executive of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co., predicts Cablevision will be able to boost circulation by about 100,000, because it serves so many more households in Long Island and New York City than Newsday. Increased circ would lead to increased advertising rates.

Cablevision is also close to an agreement to buy the Sundance Channel in a cash and stock deal valued at nearly $500 million, according to people close to the situation.

Related topics: NewspapersSigns of What’s to ComeTV CableAcquisitions/Biz BuzzInteractive 

Cablevision buys Newsday from Tribune for $650 million

BY PHYLLIS FURMAN

DAILY NEWS BUSINESS WRITER

Updated Monday, May 12th 2008, 11:34 PM

Newsday headquarters in Melville, Long Island Fickies/Getty

Newsday headquarters in Melville, Long Island

Placing a big bet on the future of the newspaper business, Cablevision announced a deal Monday to buy Long Island‘s Newsday for $650 million from Tribune.

The Long Island cable giant, controlled by the Dolan family, outbid two newspaper owners, New York Post parentNews Corp. and Daily News owner Mortimer B. Zuckerman, who had both offered $580 million for the paper.

“Newsday is one of the great names in the history of American journalism and it is both an honor and privilege to return Newsday back to Long Island-based ownership after nearly 40 years,” Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolansaid in a statement Monday. “We are committed to maintaining Newsday’s journalistic integrity and important position in the marketplace.”

By adding Newsday to its portfolio – which includes 3.1 million cable subscribers, several cable networks, as well asMadison Square Garden, the Knicks and the Rangers – Cablevision is looking to dominate ad sales on Long Island. Cablevision will also promote its products in Newsday and sister publication amNewYork.

But the deal caught immediate fire from Wall Street analysts who did not see enough cost savings or opportunities in Newsday to justify the $650 million price tag.

“It’s not an obvious fit,” said Christopher Marangi, a media analyst at Gabelli & Co., whose affiliate, Gamco Investors, owns 8% of the company. “There are some advertising and circulation synergies, but they are not compelling enough given the price they paid.”

Marangi and others said Cablevision should have used its money to fund a stock buyback. Cablevision’s shares closed Monday at $24.50, down 45 cents.

Newsday generated an estimated $80 million last year in profits before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Sales hit $500 million, though they have been shrinking in recent years, in line with the declining newspaper industry, analysts noted. The paper’s average weekday circulation in the six months ended in March was 379,613, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Taback, said Cablevision will try to tap its subscribers on Long Island to boost Newsday’s subscriber base. The majority of Cablevision’s Long Island customers do not currently get Newsday, the company said Monday.

By offering Newsday as part of its cable, TV and Internet package, Cablevision could boost Newsday’s circulation, said media appraiser Kevin Kamen. “It will be part of the enchilada,” Kamen said, adding, “they will be able to cross sell advertising.”

The Dolans’ Newsday buy comes on the heels of announcing plans to buy the Sundance Channel for $496 million and to launch a high-speed wireless network.

Last year the family, known for infighting between Charles and his son James, Cablevision’s CEO, failed in an effort to take the company private in a $10.6 billion deal.

pfurman@nydailynews.com

LONG ISLAND PRESS RELEASES

   For Immediate Release: August 12, 2009

   Look for Cablevision To Streamline Departments At Media Group

Long Island Press Releases & News

Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen: Look for Cablevision To Streamline Departments At Media Group

(Baldwin, N.Y.) – New York based media appraiser and broker Kevin Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co Group Services of Baldwin expects that the new hiring of Tad Smith as the head of Cablevision’s News Group will soon bring about many changes in the form of cutbacks, revenue enhancers, several program upgrades and possibly the consolidation of the Saturday/Sunday newspaper, as well as a subscriber fee for utilizing Newsday online. Kamen stated, “This appointment sends a loud and clear message to Long Island that suggests Cablevision needs to turn things around structurally and Smith has been identified to carry the large stick.

Something has not been going well in Cablevisionland and a new path is required at this juncture. Mr. Smith is going to need to become creative and do some heavy lifting rather quickly because it is evident that not everything has gone as once planned and hoped for at Cablevision. Publisher Tim Knight at Newsday is going to be told to make tough choices and will need to increase both revenue and circulation numbers by the end of this year and doing so will be almost an impossible task to ascertain. Redesigning the newspaper was a marginal change but something dramatic is going to have to happen at Newsday that can help change the financial picture substantially. I would suspect cutbacks and redefining the mission of the newspaper in this digital climate will bring some unrest to the newspaper and particularly to the editorial department.” Kamen continued, ” News 12 programs can expect to be upgraded under his watch to compete in this economical climate. The news telecasts are presented in a 1970’s format and must be upgraded. Newsday recently made changes to its design and layout but the savings is not one of significance. Much needs to be evaluated and contemplated to help increase revenue streams across the board. With Verizon stepping up its news coverage and becoming a viable alternative for Long Islanders, a strong voice and direction is necessary at this juncture and it would be fair to assume that change is in the wind at  Cablevision and for good reason.”

July 22, 2009 Predicto.Com – Celebrity Gossip & News Is the Daily News Next on Rupert Murdoch’s Shopping List?

Competition among New York dailies is notoriously fierce, but for all its pluses and minuses, this competition has fortunately led to a plurality of voices. What will happen, then, if two of the biggest names in the New York newspaper industry become one?

Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul behind News Corporation, is reportedly setting his eyes on the New York Daily News, the second-largest daily in the state when it comes to circulation and profitability. The reports came after News Corp. announced its recent acquisitions of the Brooklyn Paper, the TimesLedger and the Courier-Life. The newspaper groups are all based in New York, fueling speculations that the Daily News of real estate tycoon Mort Zuckerman will be next.

Strategic Investing in New York News Industry

“I believe [the acquisition] is something that is being looked at very seriously, although very quietly [inside News Corp.],” says Baldwin, New York media appraiser Kevin Kamen. “Obviously, I can’t say it is definitely happening, but I think it is being considered by Murdoch for sure. Nobody should be surprised, although everyone will be.”

“There is a strategy there,” Kamen adds, referring to the recent acquisitions of three NY-based newspaper groups by Murdoch. “He’s building up the scenery, if you will, the support system.”

If and when the Daily News falls into Murdoch’s hands, News Corp. will have a new addition to its growing list of media assets. This prestigious list currently includes the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones and the Fox group of broadcasting resources, television networks and movie outfits.

It is an astounding collection of media resources and people are worried about the influence Murdoch will have. Without one of the big names in the competition, influence and profit will go up for the New York Post.

Daily News Acquisition, Total Fiction?

For now at least, the scenario is more of a big “if” than a “when.” Zuckerman, who last year was embroiled in a stiff bidding war with Murdoch when Newsday went for sale, is not obligated or willing to sell his papers. Zuckerman called Kamen’s predictions “total fiction” and added that “The Daily News is not for sale, has never been for sale and will not be for sale.”

However, as more and more papers are shutting down due to the economic slowdown and the emergence of the so-called new media, Zuckerman may reconsider. Back in 2008, Murdoch and Zuckerman were involved in a series of negotiations to merge the operations of their newspapers. The planned merger was reported as a “money-saving collaboration” between the two news outlets and grew out of their failed attempts to acquire Newsday. This at least proves that the possibility of these news tycoons working together does exist. Newsday, incidentally, went to Cablevision for $650 million.

In addition, the Daily News is “sliding into the red.” Despite being No. 2 in circulation, the Daily News is losing its subscribers and profits to online news channels. Zuckerman remains optimistic and believes that the downward trend of the Daily News will be abetted by a new color printing plant.

“I think this is inevitable,” Kamen says. “Murdoch is never going to have an opportunity to buy the Times, but if he can put together a proposal that’s reasonable for the Daily News, I believe Zuckerman will listen.” Will he? And will it be good for the news? Read what the Predicto Mobile community thinks here and join the discussion.

Prediction: Murdoch buys NY Daily News

Jeff Bercovici

Jul 13th 2009 at 3:00PM AOL Daily Finance News

Everyone wants to know when Rupert Murdoch is going to make his long-dreamed-about play for The New York Times. Murdoch himself denies he’s plotting anything of the kind — but could he have a different target in mind?

That’s the view of Baldwin, N.Y-based media appraiser Kevin Kamen, who predicts that the News Corp.(NWS) chairman will attempt to buy the New York Daily News by the end of 2009 — and expects him to succeed. “I believe that’s something that’s being looked at very seriously, although very quietly” inside News Corp., Kamen tells Daily Finance. “Obviously, I can’t say it’s definitely happening, but I think it’s being considered by Murdoch for sure. Nobody should be surprised, although everyone will be.”

Kamen bases his prediction on information from confidential sources, but also on various public moves Murdoch has made in recent years — namely, buying the Brooklyn Paper and the TimesLedger and Courier-Life newspaper groups. (The former publishers newspapers in Brooklyn, N.Y. the latter in Queens, N.Y.) Acquiring the Daily News would complete the puzzle, says Kamen. “There’s a strategy there,” he says. “He’s building up the scenery, if you will — the support system.”

There may be a strategy there, but Mort Zuckerman, who owns the News, is under no obligation to go along with it if he doesn’t want to. The real estate mogul calls Kamen’s scenario “total fiction,” adding, “The Daily News is not for sale, has never been for sale, and will not be for sale.” A News Corp. spokeswoman said the company never comments on speculation.

If it’s fiction, however, it’s not terribly far-fetched. Just a year ago, Murdoch and Zuckerman were discussing a possible merger of the Daily News’s business operations with those of Murdoch’s New York Post. The idea for the money-saving collaboration grew out of both moguls’ failed bids for Newsday, which went to Cablevision for $650 million. The Post is believed to lose tens of millions of dollars a year; the News has historically been more profitable, but Zuckerman said two years ago that it was sliding into the red, although he claims a new color printing plant will change that.

Whatever Zuckerman says now, Kamen believes the outcome is all but preordained. “I think this is inevitable,” he says. “Murdoch is never going to have an opportunity to buy the Times, but if he can put together a proposal that’s reasonable for the Daily News, I believe Zuckerman will listen.”

MEDIA APPRAISER & BROKER KEVIN KAMEN: PLAUSIBLE MURDOCH TO EYE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

July 11, 2009 – afcp – Association of Free Community Papers

Baldwin, NY – New York based media appraiser and broker Kevin B. Kamen believes that it is not the New York Times that Rupert Murdoch wants to acquire next for his media empire but rather his only competitor in the New York Metro market, Mortimer Zuckerman’s New York Daily News, that he will soon be targeting. On Friday evening, Kamen said,” Nobody should be shocked if Mr. Murdoch, who wanted to ascertain Newsday a year ago and lost out to Mr. Dolan at Cablevision, decides to make an offer to Mr. Zuckerman in the coming weeks. Rupert is a smart businessman and he knows full well that, with the weak economy and circulation dwindling at nearly all the New York daily newspapers, this is a good time to make a deal. It’s always good to buy when the value is depressed and right now it certainly is.” Kamen continued, “advertising is down nearly 35% year over year at most titles and, with the housing market still in a tailspin, classifieds are not carrying the weight they did for many years. With the auto industry in chaos and the housing sales and unemployment figures hitting rock bottom, the newspaper industry is not only fighting off internet usage but it is holding on for dear life. New York City is nearing the day of having a single tabloid and Rupert wants to be the last one standing when the music stops playing.”

Progress Newspapers Inc., Senior Voice Change Hands

By E&P Staff

Published: July 07, 2009 4:39 PM ET

CHICAGO Progress Newspapers Inc. has been sold by family owner Matthew Petersohn to Mark Barry of Kingston, N.J.-based United Publishing LLC.

Included in the transaction are The Bucks County (Pa.) Tribune; Montgomery County Progress; Sunday Telegraph; and The Far Northeast Citizen-Sentinel.

Separately, Lisa and Rick Parsons sold the 29-year-old monthly newspaper Senior Voice of Florida to Senior Publishing and Meetings Inc. of Lutz, Fla. Todd Goldman is the new publisher for the free-distribution monthly, which circulates in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.

Baldwin, N.Y.-based Kamen & Co. Group Services brokered both sales. Terms for neither transaction were disclosed.

Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen: Quality of Journalism At Stake With Massive Revenue & Circulation Losses At Publishing Companies Nationwide

April 28, 2009

The Kamen Report

Baldwin, NY – New York based Print-Media Appraiser and Broker Kevin Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co Group Services said today,”We should all be fearful of the overall quality of journalism diminishing across the board as we watch the newspaper and magazine industry and the business of operating all print media entities disintegrate as ownership groups close titles and or cut back staff to try and balance the bottom line.” He continued, ” I expect that we will eventually all see less investigative stories, less human interest, sports, scientific and local community reporting coverage as publishing execs seek drastic measures to save costs and this is something that simply can not happen.” Kamen said, “At the same time, with consumers purchasing less newspapers and circulation crumbling, with advertisers struggling to stay in business and pulling back from marketing both their services and products and the housing industry in the tank nationwide, classifieds have also been fatally knocked out of the advertising equation and one can recognize why dramatic changes must be implemented. I am deeply concerned about the general level of top-notch editorial content being sacrificed at many news agencies and publishing institutions with all these recent severe cutbacks and layoffs in the industry.” Kamen concluded his remarks stating,” The public deserves honest, independent, innovative, passionate and accurate quality analysis and reporting and has come to appreciate and expect it over the years. Publications not only keep the public informed but have a way of keeping politicians and local officials accountable to their constituencies. Newspapers influence fairness and often take on the role of being like big brother. Poor and disadvantaged citizens who can’t stand up for themselves depend on newspapers to protect and promote positive change. I would hope that each media company does not sacrifice its responsibility to its readers content for the sake of the almighty dollar. Whether one has time to read a newspaper or magazine each day is irrelevent. Newspapers must do what is genuinely expected of them and should provide superior editorial quality regardless of the economic environment and all of us should demand it – both in print and online editions. If less coverage can be provided to certain subject matter, so be it. However, what is covered should be written by the best writers and reporters and delivered passionately to each reader regardless of the dire economic ills affecting most US citizens at this time. Now is when the best journalism is required – from economic analysis and discovery on Wall Street to Main Street.”

Condé Nast to close Portfolio magazine after 2 years

April 27, 2009 4:21 PM CDT

by Greg Bensinger Bloomberg News

Condé Nast is closing its Portfolio business magazine after two years, saying the title didn’t meet revenue forecasts and it is too expensive to operate.

Joanne Lipman, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, and the publisher, William Li, are among about 85 people who will leave the company as a result of the closing after the May issue, Maurie Perl, a Condé Nast spokeswoman, said Monday.

Portfolio, started in May 2007 to challenge titles such as BusinessWeek and Time Warner Inc.’s Fortune, failed to take off in the advertising slump. Portfolio’s ad sales dropped 49 percent in the first quarter, compared with a 20 percent decline industrywide, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

“This speaks volumes for what’s happening in the industry today: Either you’re a high-end, stronger advertiser and you’re pulling back, or you’re on the low-end and you’ve stopped altogether,” said Kevin Kamen, chief executive officer of Kamen & Co., which helps broker media assets, in Baldwin, New York. “You’ve got to worry about some of these niche magazines.”

Condé Nast had planned to spend about $100 million over five years to six years on Portfolio after its introduction, AdAge reported, without saying where it got the information. In 2005, the publisher of Vogue and the New Yorker had lured Lipman away from the Wall Street Journal to run its first business magazine.

David Carey, group publisher for Conde Nast, said in 2006 he hoped to increase the paid subscriber base of the magazine to 650,000 by 2012. Last year, the total circulation, including single-copy sales, was about 450,000, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Condé Nast, the New York-based unit of privately held Advance Publications Inc., has shuttered its Domino and Golf for Women magazines over the past year as marketers cut spending in the recession.

Portfolio’s ad sales fell to $4.1 million as ad pages plunged 61 percent, according to PIB, an industry group. Ad revenue at McGraw Hill Cos.’ BusinessWeek fell 37 percent in the quarter. Fortune sank 24 percent and Forbes dropped 8.8 percent.

“The pressures and realities of the continuous deep economic slump have lowered Portfolio’s revenue projections below what is needed to continue publication,” Conde Nast Chief Executive Officer Charles Townsend said in a statement.

In October, Condé Nast announced a plan to cut Portfolio’s frequency to 10 issues a year from 12 and reduced its Web staff.

The magazine received one National Magazine award last year, according to the statement

Kamen & Co Group Services To Begin Offering Financial Reports To Media Entities Twice Annually

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2009

www.LongIslandExchange.com

(Baldwin, N.Y.) – Kamen & Co Group Services, a leading provider of print, digital and broadcast media valuations today announced that the company will soon be offering a custom designed twice annually produced publishing financial report based on its popular 3.9 basic valuation program to all its clients who retain 2009/10 appraisals.

Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co said, “We believe it is vital, particularly in these difficult times for the media trade, that we offer a comprehensive, publisher-friendly financial analysis report twice per year that will offer concise and relevant recommendations on how to improve the current business applications each client is utilizing. This additional report will allow us to make timely recommendations that can reduce costs for troubled publications and at the same time permit our team to closely monitor the financial status of each client over a six month period. Examining recent historical patterns is of significance and we believe it is a tactical methodology to turning the business side of a publishing company around. We want to help influence constructive change at all the publishing institutions we examine.”

Kamen continued, “It is our sincere hope that management would integrate our suggestions and identify the components that we acknowledge to be troubling and that necessary action be executed to help turn around failing newspapers and magazines.”

Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen: Newspapers Must Provide Social Network Platforms Emphasizing Greater Community Engagement For Youth and Merchants

March 4, 2009

(Baldwin, N.Y.) – “Newspapers have no choice but to become more engaged and involved in both the educational and business community by incorporating internet and social networking and broadcast platforms that essentially engage local teenage students and Main Street business entrepreneurs if they want their publications to survive,”stated media appraiser Kevin Kamen, president of Kamen & Co Group Services in Baldwin, New York. “Nearly every single day we are learning of well known and highly circulated newspapers laying off employees, consolidating, cutting back editions or closing down and the message is clear: newspapers need to become more relevant, better business models in terms of effficiency and planning and more involved in the day to day aspects of locals by directing their resources to the youth and entrepreneurs in their respective communities 24/7.

Newspapers have no choice now but to develop and focus on generating useful and interesting social networking sites that target teenagers and college students as well as business folks who are active in their chambers of commerce and/or merchants groups. These new online communities should provide teenage social and business networking events and have news updates appear on their digital sites and in all their print media titles. It is vital that readers have an opportunity to join and contribute to blogs and online networking groups that are locally based, managed, sponsored, secured and directed to the youth and business people of their communities. By doing so, they will be increasing the financial value of their publication,” said Kamen. “The respective advertising, editorial, circulation and marketing staff at each newspaper, whether a weekly, monthly, daily or alternative title needs to work together cooperatively and be focused on generating enthusiasm for these social networks in every community that the newspaper is marketed in. Publishers and their management teams must be ambitious and invest resources in this endeavor and brand the social network brilliantly.

It is very important to also develop broadcast platforms that align each newspaper with other channels that reach out to the community and target the teenage, young adult and local business population,” said Kamen. “The sooner publishers wake up and begin to broaden their newspapers’ overall appeal with enhanced technological packaging, the more attractive and relevant each publication will become. This effort and emphasis on social outreach and engagement can only help sustain newspapers over the next few years.”

Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen: Wrong Time For Cablevision To Charge For Free Newsday Web Content

February 27, 2009

(Baldwin, N.Y.) “Cablevision has just released a plan to soon begin charging for what is currently free content on their Newsday website. Shame on Cablevision! These are tough economic times for many residents on Long Island. Thousands are losing their homes and jobs, the government just passed a stimulus bill for close to $800 billion and here is Cablevision sending out the worse possible message for those who reside on Long Island. If Cablevision honestly believes that charging a web subscriber fee is going to significantly impact their profit margins then they are really in for a shocker. This has not been an effective tool to drive revenue at other newspapers and will not increase the valuation of Newsday. If anything, millions less will visit their website and readers will seek other alternatives to fill their appetite for local news,” stated media appraiser Kevin Kamen, president of Kamen & Co Group Services in Baldwin, NY.

“We read that Newsday is in the process of transforming their website into an enhanced, locally focused cable service,” Kamen continued, “but what we have not yet heard is what the costs to subscribe to their website will ultimately be. Most daily newspapers have seen that charging for web content does not work. It is simply easier for viewers to click away at a competing newspaper that does not charge a subscriber fee. It’s a fair bet that if Cablevision follows through with this fee plan, Newsday will immediately lose millions of page views. Some advertisers who appear on the Newsday website might want to also pull out because millions less will be viewing the site. Also, as soon as they begin to charge other local news media and informational websites such as LIExchange.com and hometown newspaper sites should essentially receive greater attention and support from both readers and ad buyers alike.”

Kamen concluded his remarks by stating,” With this news, it is a great time for local weekly newspaper groups to begin to invest in, upgrade and market their websites because their page views are going to escalate substantially. Unfortunately, if Cablevision begins to charge a subscriber fee for web content, it will be impacting the flow of news across Nassau and Suffolk Counties and this is terrible, particularly if there were an emergency and information needed to be provided to residents quickly. Having to subscribe and pay a fee for website access will have a detrimental impact on the region. Sadly, this action speaks volumes and feeds directly into the theory of Cablevision cornering the regional market and not caring about its core local readership and advertisers. I suggest that they rethink this and find a better way to generate revenue. Charging for online content is not the way to go these days; increasing efforts to cross-sell ads online, in Newsday, in its sister publications and on News 12 as a combo buy would provide for broad channel appeal and be a smarter route to follow. With hundreds of thousands unemployed and many in need of as much information as they can get while seeking job opportunities and access to news and information that impacts the local region, this decision, at this time, is unwise. Newsday and Cablevision should be working hard to make life less stressful and enjoyable for Long Islanders, not dismantle the goodwill established over the many years.”

Media Appraiser Kevin Kamen: Newsday Could Shut Down Saturday Edition

(Baldwin, N.Y.) Newspaper appraiser Kevin Kamen, president of Kamen & Co Group Services in Baldwin, is suggesting that readers should not become surprised if later this year Cablevision management decides to cut out a Saturday edition of Newsday to save costs and subsequently publishes a combo weekend Friday edition that contains necessary editorial content and a marketing program that also affords advertisers an opportunity to get a better buy if they advertise in the Sunday edition.

Kamen stated, “These are different times in the newspaper industry, almost everyone is taking a bath with both classified and ROP display ad lineage dramatically down and I would not be surprised to any degree if Cablevision, who is losing millions of dollars with its recent Newsday acquisition, takes serious measures to substantially cut costs in coming months and eliminates a Saturday edition. By cutting out a Saturday edition Cablevision could quickly realize a savings across the board, be able to further eliminate editorial and production positions and essentially streamline costs that help their profit margins. With major advertisers such as Fortunoff’s and local auto dealers closing down on Long Island and or in bankruptcy, along with national corporate ad buyers slicing their marketing campaigns drastically, Newsday and all other daily newspapers are significantly feeling the impact and investors and ownership teams are seeing their media portfolios shrink in total valuation.

With the home realty market no longer a factor in classified sales, the one historic area of almost guaranteed revenue for a daily newspaper in past years has now been eliminated and its consequence should not be underestimated. This has only compounded the losses on all financial documents at publishing companies. This is not just a case of Cablevision examining and cutting debt but rather the valuation of their entire organization and business model that is taking a hit and impacting other aspects within their company.

Big change is clearly going to have to come and thinking out of the box is what is required right now – for all publishing entities. Eliminating a Saturday edition is a big change indeed and what I believe would be required at this time.” Kamen concluded his remarks stating,” As media appraisers we have the unfortunate responsibility to place a diminishing value on publishing companies from all across the country every day of late and trust me when I tell you that if publishing ownership teams do not take drastic steps to curtail expenditures now and think about operating their business entities differently, regardless of the digital components and broadcast capabilities associated with most media conglomerates, the unthinkable could happen.”

Broker Suggests ‘Newsday’ May Drop a Day

By E&P Staff

Published: February 13, 2009 11:44 AM ET

NEW YORK Will Newsday follow Detroit’s example and cut out one of its daily editions?

That is what newspaper broker Kevin Kamen is floating. Kamen, who is president of the Baldwin, N.Y.-based company Kamen & Co. Group Services, suggests that Newsday will drop its Saturday edition to save money.

“These are different times in the newspaper industry, almost everyone is taking a bath with both classified and ROP display ad lineage dramatically down and I would not be surprised to any degree if Cablevision, who is losing millions of dollars with its recent Newsday acquisition, takes serious measures to substantially cut costs in coming months and eliminates a Saturday edition,” Kamen wrote.

A Newsday spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Detroit Media Partnership announced late last year it was cutting home delivery of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Just about every newspaper company, certainly the public ones, is hurting from over-leveraged balanced sheets and a clamp down on the credit markets. Cablevision said earlier this week it was writing-down the value of its acquisition of Newsday by nearly 70%. Cablevision purchased the Long Island daily from Tribune for $650 million.

Kamen alleges Newsday will feel the impact of major advertisers such as Fortunoff, which filed for Chapter 11, and local auto dealers pulling back on advertising budgets and will have no choice but to align costs by making a “big change.”

Cablevision write down Newsday’s value by millions

BY MARK HARRINGTON | mark.harrington@newsday.com

7:16 PM EST, February 9, 2009

Citing newspaper-industry woes and the economic downturn, Cablevision Systems Corp. said Monday it would erase nearly 70 percent of the value of the Newsday Media Group from its books.

Cablevision, which bought the Newsday Media Group last summer for $650 million, said it would take $375 million to $450 million in pretax “impairment charges” to reflect Newsday’s decreased value.

The move doesn’t impact Cablevision’s cash flow and isn’t likely to have any material impact on the company, one of several to take write-downs in the last few weeks. Separately yesterday, Cablevision announced a $500-million debt offering.

“These impairment charges reflect the continuing deterioration of values in the newspaper industry and the greater than anticipated economic downturn and its current and anticipated impact on the newspaper publishing group’s advertising business,” Cablevision said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. “The impairment charges are not expected to result in any material future cash expenditures.”

 

One analyst wasn’t surprised by the move.

“This is (Cablevision) eating a slice of humble pie, because Wall Street greeted this deal with a raspberry from the day it was announced,” said Craig Moffett, who follows Cablevision for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Manhattan. “No one is really surprised to learn that newspapers are worth less than when they were bought.”

Cablevision, Moffett said, already has enough other tax write-down items that it doesn’t need Newsday’s to improve its tax situation, he said. “It’s adjusting a notational value that doesn’t have a lot of cash consequences,” he said. “It’s like announcing that Ulysses S. Grant is dead.”

Cablevision spokesman Charles Schueler said: “We continue to move forward with our plan to use Newsday with our other properties to strengthen our media portfolio and presence in the New York market.”

Impairment charges have not only been common lately among media companies, they are also required for proper valuation of assets under generally accepted accounting principles, as Cablevision noted in its filing. Last week, News Corp., owner of the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, recorded an $8.4 billion pretax write-down on various assets, including $2.8 billion pretax impairment charge on the value of Dow Jones & Co.

Last month, Times Co., publisher of The New York Times, reported noncash charges on several of its newspaper holdings, including $19.2 million on the value of the International Herald Tribune and $7.1 million for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Cablevision last fall reported in an SEC filing that the value of Newsday and affiliated properties like amNewYork, Island Publications and Star Community Publishing declined for several years before the purchase under prior Newsday owner Tribune Co. Tribune incurred similar impairment charges on the value of Newsday in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Tribune filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.

Kevin Kamen, president of media appraisal firm Kamen & Co. in Baldwin, said Cablevision likely understood the deteriorating situation in print media when it bought Newsday, but knew also the value of further cornering the Long Island media market. Long term, he said, “Owning Newsday puts them in a better strategic position.”

Cablevision shares gained 2 cents Monday, to close at $15.13.

As newspapers fade, there’s opportunity in parenting mags

LIBN

by Ambrose Clancy

Published: February 4, 2009

Sheer guts, sheer delusion or shrewdness?

While print publications watch ad revenues plummet in a death spiral, Nassau Parent, Suffolk Parent and Long Island Parent will blitz March and April with a total of more than 150,000 free copies.

At least one media expert thinks starting print publications these days is dangerous, if not doomed from the outset.

“From everything I see, I don’t think it’s the right time,” said Kevin Kamen, owner of The Kamen Group, a Baldwin print media appraiser, consultant and broker.

It’s not just Long Island. “It’s an epidemic across the country,” Kamen said.

He pointed to Suffolk Life, a free newspaper that seemed strong but went under last summer, as an example of advertisers abandoning print because of stretched budgets. Combine that with more and more readers getting information on line and the picture grows gloomier, Kamen said.

“The financial numbers I see on a daily basis appraising publications tells me starting a print publication is an extreme risk,” Kamen said.

But don’t tell that to David Miller, president of New York City-based Davler Media Group, which will publish 50,000 copies of both Nassau Parent and Suffolk Parent for their initial April runs. The magazines will be distributed free every month at over 1,000 Long Island locations. Miller said kicking off both publications cost in the neighborhood of “the low six figures.”

Going head-to-head with DMG to attract parents is Liza Burby, owner, publisher and editor of Long Island Parent, whose first run in March will be 55,000 copies given free at 1,300 locations. At the moment Long Island Parent will be a bi-monthly publication.

Burby declined to say what the launch will cost.

Both publishers might be on to something. Candace Corlett, president of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail, said parents are cutting back dramatically when it comes to spending money on themselves but won’t deny their children, which means advertisers for children’s goods and services may be looking for places to display their wares.

WSL found that about 75 percent of adult consumers were slashing their budgets for fashion accessories, home décor, eating out and other activities. They were not, however, cutting back on toys and activities for their children.

Davler Media publishes six parenting magazines in the metropolitan area with a circulation of about 400,000. The two Island magazines will follow the same formula, Miller said. Tabloid sized, the magazines will be heavy on a calendar of activities for the month with 10-14 pages of listings along with features on health, education, nutrition, finance and other lifestyle subjects.

Marie Wolf, an editor of the now defunct “Wellness” magazine published by Newsday, will edit both magazines from a virtual office and rely heavily on freelancers. Material from the other Davler Media parenting magazines will help fill the pages of the Island brands. There will be separate sales staff in each of the new markets.

Although she will be taking content from the other parenting magazines in the chain, Wolf said the two magazines will reflect what’s happening on Long Island. “We’ll be looking for the local spin,” she said.

Wolf is confident the venture will succeed because of DMG’s track record in other markets and because parenting magazines have a special advantage over other publications

“The economy is awful but we have to keep moving forward with our obligations to our kids,” she said. “Advertisers need a voice to showcase what they’re offering.”

Burby also comes from a failed Newsday magazine, Newsday’s Long Island Parents and Children, which went under with other stand-alone Newsday publications in December.

Like Wolf, Burby is clear-eyed when it comes to the economic climate, and is equally confident in succeeding.

“It can’t get any worse,” she said. “And personally, if I don’t do it now I’ll always regret that I let my readers down.”

Burby said there was a core of loyal readers from the Newsday magazine who will follow her to Long Island Parent. The new publication is similar to its competition in that it will be heavily devoted to calendar listings and lifestyle features.

She can separate her magazine from Nassau Parent and Suffolk Parent because it is Long Island-based, Burby said.

“Our readers want articles directly written to them and about them,” she said. “Those guys in Manhattan, nice as they might be, know nothing about this market.”

Davler Media’s Miller disagrees, pointing out that there is a core of four Long Island advertising professionals and two Island-based professionals in editorial.

Nassau Parent and Suffolk Parent will have a Web presence at www.nymetroparent.com and Long Island Parent’s Web site will be found at www.liparentonline.com.

Kamen wants Dolan to fess up

Wed, Jan 21, 2009

Long Island Business News – LI Biz Blog    www.LIBN.com

http://libn.com/libizblog/files/2009/01/suit533.jpg 

The mystery of the missing Newsday editors has been solved. There was a dispute between Editor John Mancini and heads of Cablevision over Newsday’s “tenor and depth of overall coverage” related to the New York Knicks, accordingto a New York Times story. Cablevision, of course, owns the basketball team.

It seems the editor won this bout, securing the editorial integrity of the newspaper. But local media appraiser Kevin Kamen thinks the chief of Cablevision himself, James Dolan, should explain to the public the details of the dispute, while promising to never let something like this happen again.

That’ll be the day.

Here’s Kamen’s statement. Do you agree with it?

Cablevision needs to realize that they must let those who handle their print products have full control over all editorial product and those who handle their broadcast and telecommunications departments run those respective entities without any interference from executives.

The news is the news and like it or not it must be reported truthfully, accurately and independently. This was a major concern many of us within the publishing arena had when we were watching the bidding and eventual sale of Newsday to Cablevision for $650 million take place last year. The potential for a blow up and fireworks was always there and remains so to this day.

Cablevision can say what it wants but the independent integrity of Newsday can never be questioned; the day it is will be when the newspaper  becomes irrelevant to its core readership base. Many of us on Long Island and inside the media trade had issues with the fact that Cablevision might one day attempt to drive the Newsday newsroom to places it ought to not go and curtail the independent and accurate reporting of stories which impact Cablevision’s sports teams and vast business interests.

All readers deserve to know, as well as does the editorial department, that Cablevision will stay away and not interfere with newsroom activities. Mr. Dolan must make it absolutely clear to one and all, employees and readers alike, that interference did occur in the Newsday newsroom recently, it was wrong and editorial heads will have complete functional authority from this point on.

Kamen & Co Group Services To Use Mobile Web Marketing —

January 12, 2009 www.LongIslandExchange.com

Kamen & Co Group Services Plans To Use Mobile Web Marketing To Sell Publications To Targeted Audience

(Baldwin, N.Y.) It was announced today that Kamen & Co Group Services, the print & digital media appraisal and brokerage firm based in New York, will begin marketing its brand of customized valuation and brokering services to the publishing, B2B, Direct Mail and listing companies effective February 16, 2009.

“We want to speak directly to our list of both domestic and international clientele and let them know immediately what types of titles we have listed for sale within seconds of the listing. In these times, when everyone is traveling and on the go, we can think of no better mechanism to do so than via establishing this application”, stated Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co. “We want greater and faster consumer reach, particularly in these tough economic times that are both challenging and exciting for our industry,” Kamen added. “We have an increase in the annual volume of clientele requesting media valuations to discover the financial well being of their properties and new listings of publishing and B2B firms. This will enable us to provide better and more accurate information and opportunities to all those we deal with on a routine basis.”

Is there life after debt?

Editor & Publisher

November, 2008 Issue

By Mark Fitzgerald and Jennifer Saba

GIVEN THAT DEBT IS THE CENTRAL problem for newspaper companies with the most well-publicized woes, the credit freeze that stunned markets this fall could be particularly painful if it lingers too long. “Most newspaper companies are in for a very bumpy ride because their balance sheets were in such poor condition prior to the development of this financial crisis,” warns media economist Robert Picard.

Already, lenders are putting heat on some of the biggest debters in the industry – and the pressure is only going to grow, financial experts predict…Broker Kevin Kamen of Kamen & Co. Group Services, thinks he knows what’s ahead – nothing but trouble. While he’s still shopping some newspaper and magazine properties, activity has slowed dramatically. “You’re going to see closings,” he says. “Looking at the P&L ( profit and loss ) statements that I see every day – everybody is struggling. When money dries up, it doesn’t matter how great your newspaper is if you can’t pay the bills.” In passing – and without mentioning names – Kamen mentions someone who symbolizes the industry’s distress: a newspaper publisher whose house is in foreclosure.

“It’s fair to say in a capital-constrained lending environment like this, typically the weakest players are the ones who get hurt, and newspapers are in the weaker categories,” adds bond analyst Mike Simonton of Fitch ratings. “The situation is pretty poor for newspapers now, but there’s no reason to believe it couldn’t get worse.”

Newspaper Appraiser/Analyst Kevin Kamen: Expect Closings and Consolidations in the Newspaper Industry

October 14, 2008

(Baldwin, N.Y.) – Print & Digital Media Appraiser and Analyst Kevin B. Kamen, President/CEO of Kamen & Co. Group Services of Baldwin, NY, a leading media financial valuation and brokerage firm in the publishing trade, believes newspaper companies will need to fully integrate their online and broad channel efforts to fend off weak print advertising sales for the fourth quarter of 2008 or they will inevitably be forced to either consolidate their operations with local competitors or perhaps have to face the reality of closing.

“Publishers have no choice but to embrace all potential channels of reaching their market, whether it be generating video, building sustainable blogs, incorporating cell phone downloads, optimizing search engine capabilities by linkage and more domains or organically reconstructuring websites that effectively meet the daily needs of their readers and ad buyers,” stated Kamen, who appraises publications nationally and internationally. He continued, “Publishers must wake up, invest in industry technology, focus on e-newsletters and webinar series, use editorial content that does not make the cut in their newsprint products online and make the rationale that times are bleak in the industry and cost-savings measures must be put into effect across the board.” Kamen added,” If change is not made at most weekly and daily newspapers over the next 12 months, then change will come in the way of closings and this will have a tremendous impact on the local economy.

We do not want to see this happen but now it is all about scalable website platforms, both readers and ad buyers receiving the information they require within a click or two and making everything reachable in seconds. In order to do this, publishers need to spend less on printing and production and more on their websites, where the forum is greater and the marketability of the product is essentially 24/7. As 2008’s final quarter progresses and this economic downturn continues, smart publishers who offer their investors streamlined profit margins and greater mass coverage will be the select group that see the value of their publishing enterprises increase.”

Express Newspaper of Mechanicville, NY Sold; Kamen & Co. Group Services Negotiates Deal

August 4,2011

Uniondale, NY – Kathleen F. and Gary J. McNall, owners of The Express newspaper, a weekly paid branded title, based in Mechanicville, NY have sold their newspaper to Cindy and Thomas Mahoney. The Mahoneys have 25 years of publishing experience and are very excited to own the respected newspaper in Saratoga County. The closing was July 28, 2011. The McNalls owned and operated the newspaper since 1997. The Express reaches approximately 10,000 readers weekly primarily in the Mechanicville, Stillwater and Schaghticoke areas of upstate, New York. Kevin Kamen, President of Kamen & Co. said, “We were delighted to secure a qualifed buyer for this wonderful weekly newspaper and wish both families the best of luck in the future. It was an honor to represent Kathleen and Gary McNall in this sale.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Kamen & Co. Group Services relocates corporate headquarters

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 11:36 AM CDT

By Inland Staff

Kamen & Co. Group Services is moving its corporate headquarters to the RXR Corp Plaza in Uniondale, N.Y. The newspaper appraiser and broker was previously located in Baldwin, N.Y.

The move was a necessary step due to the firm’s growth, according to Kevin Kamen, president and CEO of KamenGroup.com.

“We were delighted to sign this lease at the beautiful RXR Plaza, and by doing so, our staff will be able to improve its exceptional, quality service to our growing list of clients,” Kamen said in a statement.

Kamen & Co. Brokers Deal as the Queens Courier Expands Into Brooklyn

February 4, 2011

Victoria and Josh Schneps, publishers of The Queens Couriers, in New York, celebrating 25 years, have acquired Brooklyn’s Home Reporter/Sunset News and the Brooklyn Spectator group of weekly newspapers.

This will be the media company’s groundbreaking foray into Brooklyn, establishing a firm foundation for growth throughout the borough. Kevin Kamen, president/CEO of Kamen & Co Group Services of Baldwin, New York, a leading print & digital media appraisal and brokerage firm, brokered the sale.

“Bay Ridge and its environs are some of Brooklyn’s premier neighborhoods, and the Home Reporter-Spectator is one of the borough’s oldest, most respected and successful newspaper chains,” explained new owners Victoria and Josh Schneps, who will be co-publishers of the titles, a position they also hold at the Queens group.

Veteran Brooklyn journalist Kenneth Brown, for 28 years the editor-in-chief of Courier-Life Publications and then CNG Publications, has assumed the role at the Bay Ridge-based Home Reporter-Brooklyn Spectator papers.

He will be working with longtime Home Reporter-Spectator staff writer Paula Katinas, Along with Katinas, the entire staff of the Brooklyn-based chain remains intact and integral to the continuing success of the papers – and excited about the bright future this acquisition holds for the publications. The building at 3rd Avenue and 88th Street remains the headquarters for the newspapers.

Within the next weeks and months, readers will find a revitalization and expansion of their hometown community newspapers. You’ll see more content, a current and visually pleasing re-design, and more color for photos and graphics.

“We will create a strong web presence and establish even greater community involvement. But the heart of the papers will remain intact: local news and issues of interest to the community.

“Perhaps most important, we are looking to the community to partner with us in this revitalization,” said co-publisher Josh Schneps. “We want you to help us expand the coverage of the Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator. We want your input; we want to hear of people, places, issues and events of importance to you. From a Bay Ridge social column, to a nightclub reporter, to insider politics and an inside look on Bay Ridge’s beautiful homes, we are looking for ideas, writers, photographers and columnists who can join us in this venture.”

Expert: Projo would sell for $51M tops

Little reason for Belo to sell at that price

Ted Nesi

Updated: Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010, 2:15 PM EST

Published : Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010, 1:21 PM EST

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The highest price The Providence Journal would fetch in today’s market is $51 million, according to a leading media appraiser, an enormous drop in value since Belo bought the paper a decade and a half ago.

A buyer would probably be willing to pay between $42 million and $51 million for The Journal, Kevin Kamen of Kamen & Co. Group Services in Baldwin, N.Y., told WPRI.com. “It’s not worth a dime more than that,” he said.

The ongoing turmoil in the newspaper industry caused by readers’ migration online has led to a sea change in how investors value long-established print publications, which were reliable cash cows in decades past.

Although The Journal’s Dallas-based owner, A.H. Belo, has not expressed any interest in selling the local paper, The Boston Globe and some other major dailies have been shopped around by their parent companies in recent years.

In October, a Wellesley entrepreneur revealed he was putting together an unsolicited bid for The Globe. The news raised the question of how much it would cost a buyer to take control of Rhode Island’s statewide daily.

Howard Sutton, who has been The Journal’s publisher since 1999, did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment. The paper’s executives generally do not speak to reporters outside their organization.

In 1997, Belo paid $1.5 billion for the 168-year-old Providence Journal Co. and its nine television stations. Two years ago, the company split its TV and newspaper divisions into separate companies, with the new A.H. Belo taking The Journal and its sister papers, the Dallas Morning News and The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif.

Prior to the sale, the Journal Co.’s broadcast division brought in 58 percent of its revenue. While it’s hard to say exactly how much of the $1.5 billion price tag represented the value of the actual newspaper, one-third of the total would put it at $500 million.

By that measure, Kamen’s current estimate of $51 million represents a 90 percent slump in value over 13 years. “It’s like winning the lottery and putting all the money in a pocket with a hole in it,” he said. “It’s really incredible how it has gone down in value.”

Kamen appraises the value of newspapers, magazines and other print properties for buyers and sellers. In 2008, he came within $25 million of predicting the $650 million sale price for New York Newsday.

Kamen emphasized that his estimate was only a rough one because he does not have details about The Journal’s finances beyond the information publicly disclosed by A.H. Belo. The figure excludes real estate owned by the paper such as its downtown headquarters on Fountain Street.

Few buyers for papers today

A slightly higher estimate than Kamen’s was offered by Reed Phillips, managing partner at the media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips in New York. He suggested The Journal could sell for $50 million to $75 million, adding that the information available about the paper’s finances is too limited to offer a tighter range than that.

The Journal’s current value would probably be pegged at four to five times its annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, said John Morton, a veteran newspaper industry analyst. That would put the combined value of all three A.H. Belo papers at $232 million to $292 million as of last year.

But private equity investors, who are “about the only ones making bids on newspapers these days” , would probably offer even less than that for the paper, Morton said in an e-mail.

Last year, the Beverly Hills-based private-equity group Platinum Equity reportedly paid between $40 million and $50 million to buy the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper from Copley Press.

The Union-Tribune’s circulation was 270,000 in 2008, and the deal also included valuable real estate. The Journal’s average circulation was 96,595 on weekdays in the six months ended Sept. 30, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

Platinum Equity also “bid on Cox’s papers in Texas, but the bid was so low that Cox withdrew the papers from the market, and pretty much the same thing happened with The Boston Globe,” Morton said. The New York Times Co. rejected two offers for The Globe last year.

Cloudy outlook limits estimates

Kamen’s estimate of a $42 million to $51 million purchase price for The Journal “sounds reasonable,” Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the nonprofit Poynter Institute in Florida, wrote in an e-mail.

It’s unlikely A.H. Belo would be interested in selling The Journal at that price, Edmonds said. “Valuations like that keep all but the most motivated sellers” , like the Copleys in San Diego , “from actually going through with transactions. Better to hold on and see if they can rebuild the franchise over a few years.”

The Press-Enterprise “is more the problem child among A.H. Belo properties” compared with the Providence and Dallas papers, Edmonds said. Executives say the California publication is the only one of the three that’s not making money before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

The Journal’s appraised value should be based on future earnings, which are now highly uncertain for print media outlets, and therefore it could be “significantly” higher or lower than Kamen estimates, said Ken Doctor, a media analyst at the research firm Outsell and the author of “Newsonomics.”

“Pre-2000, in a steady-state industry, you could look at earnings and project a multiple,” Doctor said. “But there’s no longer any steady-state. Print revenues are still down and may well be down next year as well. Digital is growing, but still not quite enough to make up for print losses.

“So a buyer has to ask: what is the future of what I’m buying?” That cloudy outlook helps explain why Newsweek magazine recently sold for $1, he said.

‘Unbelievable’ circulation, ad losses

Concern about the health of The Journal is widespread in local political and media circles. The paper has long played an outsized role in setting the news agenda in Rhode Island, and even after multiple rounds of layoffs it still boasts the state’s largest newsroom.

Newspapers in the Northeast have been hit harder by decreases in circulation and advertising revenue than their counterparts in other parts of the United States, Kamen said, but The Journal’s declines are worse than average.

“It’s unbelievable what’s been going on there,” he said, noting that the paper’s daily circulation has fallen by 40 percent over the past decade. Nationwide, daily newspaper circulation fell 25.6 percent from 2000 to 2009, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

Kamen also said the paper risks driving away more of its remaining readers if it keeps increasing the cost of home-delivery subscriptions, which rose 14 percent to $416 a year in 2009.

The Journal’s management should “take three steps back and analyze what they’re doing and how they could more effectively rally the community, the advertising base and the readership to help grow the publication,” he said. “They can reply back and say these are tough times, everybody’s taking a loss , but very few have taken such a beating.”

“They have to take control of their destiny,” Kamen added.

Growth seen in online, iPads

The Journal increased its circulation revenue per copy from $167 in 2007 to $293 in 2009. That has likely reached a plateau at all three of Belo’s papers, making it all the more important for the paper to increase how much money it gets from digital ads and online readers, Doctor said.

Sutton recently told Journal employees the paper will debut a new version of its website, Projo.com, next summer designed by ExNihilo, a firm in Providence, according to a memo obtained by The Providence Phoenix. At that point the site will no longer offer all the content in the print edition for free, he said.

The paper also plans to launch apps for Apple’s iPhone and iPad next year and has hired the local marketing agency Nail Communications to lead a rebranding effort.

Like their peers at The Journal Register Co., A.H. Belo executives will be telling investors they can increase digital revenue quickly, though those gains could be neutralized if the print business continues to shrink, Doctor said.

Meanwhile, analysts expect more than 35 million tablet computers to be sold next year, led by the iPad, presenting another opportunity , and challenge for print publications.

“Belo is among the leaders thinking through and planning that transition,” Doctor said. “So, on the curve, [it’s] well-positioned. New owners would need to make the same transition, with similar thinking, and that’s no sure thing.”

tnesi@wpri.com

Copyright WPRI

What’s the Boston Globe Worth, Anyway? Try $120 Million

By Jeff Bercovici

Mixed Media

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

October 28, 2010 – Image by Getty Images via @daylife A group of investors, led by entrepreneur Aaron Kushner, wants to buy the Boston Globe. The New York Times Co. says it’s not for sale , but then that’s what the Bancroft family said when Rupert Murdoch offered them $5 billion for The Wall Street Journal, and look how that turned out.

So let’s play this game. How much would it cost to buy the Globe? And how much is it actually worth?

For some informed speculation, I turned to media appraiser Kevin Kamen, who correctly predicted Newsday’s sale price of $650 million, give or take $25 million. Since the Times Co. doesn’t break out figures for the Globe per se, only for the New England Media Group (which also includes the much smaller Worcester Telegram & Gazette), Kamen could only come up with a very rough estimate based on that group’s 2009 revenues of $440.6 million; its reported 2009 loss of $85 million, since reined in by $10 million of union-approved cost cuts; and its circulation of 264,000 on weekdays, 419,100 on Sundays.

Crunch all those numbers, and what’s the Globe worth? “I would say no more than $120 million,” says Kamen. “And I’m being very generous. I would say it’s worth, realistically, $75 million.” The extra $45 million, he says, is based on the assumption that whoever buys it must have an notion of how to make money from it beyond “Let?s buy this thing and see what happens.” (It’s worth pointing out that that’s exactly the spirit in which Sidney Harman bought Newsweek, but he only paid $1 for it.)

“Whoever’s buying this has got to have an ulterior motive,” says Kamen. “There’s got to be a bigger picture that’s consequential to them.”

Of course, even at $120 million, the Globe is still a relative bargain when you consider that the Times Co. paid $1.1 billion to acquire it in 1993, and that, as recently as 2006, Jack Welch was prepared to pay $550 million or more for it. Just imagine what it’ll be worth in another four years if the Sulzberger family holds out.

Broker says Globe likely worth only $75 Million

By Jessica Heslam

Boston Herald Media Reporter

Saturday, October 30, 2010 – The Big Apple-based newspaper broker who estimated the Boston Globe’s worth at $120 million tops said that price tag doesn’t include the beleaguered broadsheet’s employee pension costs.

Kevin Kamen, president of Kamen & Co., told Forbes this week that the Globe isn’t worth more than $120 million – and that it’s more likely worth $75 million. “Whoever does buy this is going to have to assume debt – no question,” Kamen told the Herald yesterday. “The big question is how much of that debt has to be assumed and what is that debt?”

“It’s got to be somebody with real deep pockets that has a sincere and a genuine reason for wanting it,” Kamen added. The New York Times [NYT] Co. bought the Globe for a staggering $1.3 billion in 1993 and failed to sell it last year. The Times yanked the Hub broadsheet off the market after fetching preliminary bids of $35 million from Stephen Taylor, whose family used to own the Globe, and Platinum Equity, a West Coast investment firm. The Times originally wanted potential buyers to assume $59 million in unfunded pension liabilities for the Globe and Worcester Telegram & Gazette – and then nearly doubled that figure to $115 million.

Wellesley greeting card entrepreneur Aaron Kushner has been meeting with some of Boston’s top business leaders and is putting together an investor group to try to buy the Times Co.’s New England Media Group, which includes the Globe, Boston.com and T&G.

Hub construction honcho John Fish said he met with Kushner a few weeks ago.

“It sounds as though they’ve got a very interesting perspective on how to re-engineer the Globe,” Fish said. “My sense was it’s just way beyond my space. It’s a very, very challenging proposition.”

As for the Globe’s worth, Kamen said yesterday he’s “more comfortable with the $75 million” figure. “These are really tough times,” said Kamen. James Boyce, founder of the Boston-based Common Sense New Media Strategies, said it’s a declining asset.

“No matter what the valuation is, there is not a model out there for turning around newspapers and making them more valuable,” Boyce said.

jheslam@bostonherald.com

Broker: Publishing industry to improve slightly in second half of 2010

BY INLAND STAFF

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:28 AM CDT – Kevin B. Kamen, president & CEO of Kamen & Co. Group Services in Baldwin, N.Y., said Wednesday he expects an improving picture in the third quarter for the publishing industry.

“After a very hard first half of 2010 within the print and digital publishing industry a slight recovery can be expected for the second half of this year,” Kamen said in a statement. “We have seen profits at most publishing companies decline between 18-33 percent the past 18 months when we examine financial records and prepare our customized valuation reports. Classified and ROP advertising lineage is down significantly primarily in part to the weak housing and employment crisis the country is in the midst of.”

He also warned about the need to innovate. “Executive publishing teams whom maintain the status quo will not survive. Continuing to be creative and instituting efficiencies is the key to future success as well as focusing on e-commerce presentations that features videos, interactive editorial and production galleries and online synergies.”

Kamen said he’s seen evidence that investment in technology is paying off for publishers. “Publishing executives must drive the conversation and keep their readers interested and the future success of growing the revenue side of all publishing organizations evolves around mobile capabilities, social networking programs and data alignment formations,” he said.

“A publisher who understands the relevance of accumulating a library of data and knowing how to sort it for potential strategic marketing purposes will be able to stay ahead of the curve. Already we are seeing that those who invest in technology and focus on better brand positioning are beginning to show marginal profits vs. those who have not.”

Madavor Media Acquires Award-winning Fairways & Greens

(Long Island, N.Y.) Madavor Media continues a recent string of acquisitions with the purchase of Fairways & Greens magazine, a bimonthly publication covering golf, travel and lifestyle for the American West and beyond. FG Magazine joins forces with Madavor’s Northeast Golf, which brings readers the most up-to-date information about people, places and events in the Northeast golf market.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to expand our portfolio with this award-winning publication,” says Jeffrey C. Wolk, Chairman and CEO of Madavor Media. “Because of our experience and industry partnerships, we are now well-positioned to serve golf enthusiasts on both coasts.”

During the magazine’s 13-year history, Fairways & Greens has grown into a vibrant publication, outliving nearly all of its direct competitors while racking up national honors including the 2006 Folio Award for Best Consumer Magazine Redesign and International Network of Golf awards ranging from Best Golf Travel Writing (2005 and 2007) to Best Golf Photography (2008) and Best Golf Illustration (2007, 2008). In addition, FG Magazine’s Vic Williams was honored with Best Golf Competition Writing for his analysis of Tiger Woods’ historic 2008 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines, topping writers from publications such as Golfweek and Sports Illustrated.

“Madavor Media is the perfect new home for FG Magazine,” Williams says. “It is a successful, growing publisher with resources that will enable FG to grow in the coming decade. Having such a strong partnership in place gives us a wealth of new tools to build on the success we’ve worked hard for since the magazine began in 1997.” Both Williams, who will serve as Executive Editor, and Creative Director Darin Bunch will remain with the magazine and www.fgmagazine.com website to maintain continuity and connection within the golf community.

“We’ve always known FG Magazine could be something truly special,” Bunch says. “And now, as part of the Madavor team of sports- and hobby-themed publications, we have an opportunity to build the brand into what we’ve always known it can be.”

Madavor Media publishes other titles and manages trade shows that are No. 1 in their respective fields in the sports, music and enthusiast markets. Through its print and digital magazines, trade shows, websites, e-mail newsletters and other partnerships across the publishing industry, Madavor offers unique ways to communicate with passionate consumers who are eager to learn more about products and events that support their interests. And now, with both FG Magazine and Northeast Golf, the company sees potential to reach golf travelers as never before.

The first issue of FG Magazine under Madavor’s direction will be the March-April 2010 magazine, scheduled to hit newsstands in mid-March. The title will be published on a traditional bimonthly calendar, with subsequent issues scheduled for May-June, July-August, September-October, November-December and January-February.

“In each issue of FG Magazine, we will deliver the golf travel information that readers and advertisers have come to expect from this acclaimed publication,” says Madavor Media’s VP/Group Publisher Susan Fitzgerald. “And with our experience in circulation, distribution, production, digital editions and promotion, we plan on expanding FG’s reach to new golfers and travelers throughout the West and beyond.” Kamen & Co Group Services of New York brokered the sale (info@KamenGroup.com)

For more information, contact:

Joan Lynch

Director, Madavor Media

www.madavor.com

617-706-9080

Vic Williams

Executive Editor, Fairways & Greens

www.fgmagazine.com

775-745-3190

 

Magazine model gets new approach from Cold Spring Harbor-based MYMAG

Long Island Business NewsNov 5, 2009 by Ambrose Clancy

Phil Rugile is trying to break a traditional publishing model so it won’t break him.

The maiden voyage of Cold Spring Harbor-based MYMAG, a print publication devoted to celebrities, can’t be found on newsstands and is not available via subscription. Want a copy? Go online and pony up $10 for the glossy print magazine.

Another break from the past? A single company buys the rights to all ads throughout an issue. Microsoft’s Bing and Diesel Jeans are on board as “single ad sponsorships” for the first three issues, all published simultaneously this week.

Also, Rugile and his partner, Marcus Greaves, are publishing magazines devoted totally to one celebrity, with the first three showcasing DJ and record producer Steve Aoki, model/actress Olivia Munn, and film/video director Brett Ratner. Hence the title – MYMAG.

Rather than launching a traditional marketing campaign to spread the word, MYMAG will rely on the celebrities own Twitter activity and their presence on Facebook and MySpace.

Those D-list denizens mentioned above ring no bells? Rugile is banking that enough people not only are familiar with them but also are willing to part with $10 to get a closer look.

“We’re taking trends in media and entertainment and how celebrities are trying to get closer and closer to their fans,” Rugile said. “We’re trying to capitalize on that connection and give the celebrities another channel to promote themselves in a purely viral way.”

Some warn that launching a print publication is like betting that the Titanic will beat the iceberg. Last year, 525 magazines went under and by February of this year another 40 titles sunk to the bottom, according to MediaFinder, an online database devoted to publications. Publishing legends such as “Gourmet” are history and other iconic glossies, including “PC Magazine” and “Playgirl,” are publishing online exclusively.

Marcus Greaves is all too familiar with collapsing print publications. In February his Doubledown Media closed shop along with it’s flagship magazine, “Trader Monthly,” a lifestyle publication aimed at wealthy Wall street types. But both partners maintain MYMAG’s new model is the key to success.

Rugile – a publishing lifer with stops at Time, Newsday and the Baltimore Sun among other places – said that private capital invested is approaching seven figures and that print runs will depend on the fans of the celebrity.

“We have a ‘secret sauce’ formula to determine how many copies to print based on how many fans someone has on their Facebook page and how many on their Twitter network,” Rugile said. “We’re intentionally keeping it small so we don’t have inventory sitting around.”

He estimated that print runs will be anywhere from 7,500 copies up to 50,000.

Kevin Kamen, chief executive of Baldwin-based Kamen & Company Group Services, which appraises publications and brokers sales, said the upside for MYMAG is that printing has become cheap during the recession.

“Printers will take anything they can get now because they’re starving,” Kamen said.

But Kamen doesn’t like the idea of any print launches in this market, no matter how innovative the strategy might be. “I’d advise against it,” he said.

The magazines are professionally laid out with sharp photographic spreads. Original content created by the celebrities are at the front of the publications followed by articles and images selected by them from publications including “Playboy,” “Interview” and “Rolling Stone.”

No money changes hands to get the big guns of publishing to come up with content. “We provide publishers with endorsement of their content, opening up new readership, bringing them into a unique environment where online and print intersect,” Rugile said.

The obscurity of the first three celebrities chosen to have their own magazine is in the eye of the beholder, Rugile said. Olivia Munn recently made an appearance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” “She was a killer,” Rugile said. “Owned the stage. She’ll be really big next year.”

As for DJ Steve Aoki and filmmaker Brett Ratner, they’re show biz insiders who have many followers, according to the publishers.

It’s hoped that Ratner, who directed the 2006 “X-Men: The Last Stand” and Mariah Carey videos will provide a springboard to future celebrities interested in having their own magazine.

“Brett brings validation to the concept,” Rugile said. “Along with Steve and Olivia, he’s not the A-list of household names, but it’s important that we present ourselves to the clients that we ultimately want to reach.”

Copyright 2009 Dolan Media Newswires

AWARD WINNER 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kamen & Co. Group Services Receives 2009 Best of New York Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009 — Kamen & Co. Group Services has been selected for the 2009 Best of New York Award in the Media Appraisers category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2009 USCA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

Experts: Newsday’s pay-for-play model will fail

by David Reich-Hale

Published: February 27, 2009

Eighteen months after the New York Times gave up on charging for online content, Newsday’s parent company is about to give the paid content model a shot.

And area media analysts said Cablevision’s timing couldn’t be worse.

“The economy is very, very bad,” said Kevin B. Kamen, the president of Baldwin-based Kamen & Co. Group Services. “People are not in the mood to pay extra for anything. They are out of work. They don’t have the money.”

Tom Rutledge, chief operating officer for Cablevision, told analysts on a conference call Thursday that the company planned to end the distribution of free content.

“Our goal was and is to use our electronic network assets and subscriber relationships to transform the way news is distributed,” Rutledge said.

Cablevision remains one of the few media outlets to lock down news coverage. Its News12.com Web site is only available to subscribers and Cablevision considers News 12 to be the key to stopping Verizon, which is aggressively trying to steal cable customers. Using that model, it’s conceivable that current Cablevision subscribers will be given free access to the Newsday site.

Cablevision has about 86 percent of the Nassau County cable market and 81 percent of the cable market in Suffolk County.

A Newsday.com lockdown should come as no surprise. At a Press Club of Long Island event earlier this month, Publisher Tim Knight said his publication was considering the pay model, adding that giving away content for free is a “death spiral.”

“I probably make more money on the Web than anyone else in this room, and I’m not afraid to roll the dice,” Knight said, when asked about free content. “I think about what’s the right kind of model for us. I know that there’s significant demand for the news that we create and produce based on my subscription retention, my subscription sales, and even to a lesser extent my single copy sales.”

But Jaci Clement, executive director of the Fair Media Council, said Newsday’s content is not worth paying for.

“They’re not performing enough original content to be valuable,” Clement said. “They have the police blotter, Associated Press copy and a lot of syndicated copy. That’s not enough to be considered a good buy.”

Clement also said many residents can’t afford another charge.

“Then you’ve set up a system of haves and have-nots,” Clement said.

But Knight said Newsday isn’t the only newspaper considering an online charge. He said

if publications fail to make money online, wealthy people with an agenda would control most papers.

Kamen, however, said the pay-to-play model would not help Cablevision make money.

“They’re not going to have more readers and that, in turn, will mean they won’t make as much in advertising,” Kamen said. “It’s a negative from a public relations perspective and from an advertising perspective.”

The New York Times was the last area newspaper to charge for content through a program called Times Select, which locked down columns and editorials, but not most news stories.

Cablevision has grappled with how to turn around Newsday since it bought the Melville daily for $650 million in mid-2008. The company on Thursday posted a fourth-quarter loss of $321 million, blaming the results on a $402 million write-down related to Newsday and a $41 million charge tied to shutting down its VOOM HD network.

Mixed Media

by Jeff Bercovici

http://www.portfolio.com/

Feb 27 2009 9:24AM EST

‘Newsday’ Leads the Paid Content Charge. Yikes.

Why do I suspect that it won’t be Cablevision, of all the newspaper owners out there, that solves the puzzle of getting consumers to pay for news online?

Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge let slip in a conference call yesterday that the company plans to “end the distribution of free Web content” on Newsday’s website and thereby “make our newsgathering capabilities a service to our customers.”

He didn’t elaborate, nor did Newsday publisher Timothy Knight shed much more light when he told his paper, “We are in the process of transforming Newsday’s Web site into an enhanced, locally focused cable service that we believe will become an important benefit for Newsday and Cablevision customers.” Details TK.

Whether there’s some way to unscramble the free-online-news egg and make consumer dollars replace vanishing ad revenues is a question that’s obsessed virtually every deep thinker in the journalism world over the past few months.

Without knowing more about Cablevision’s plans, it’s impossible to say they won’t work. But you have to wonder how a company that’s already written down more than $400 million of the $650 million it paid for Newsday just last year suddenly came into possession of so much foresight.

Analyst Ken Doctor has already spotted a key weakness in Cablevision’s thinking: Even as a free offering, Newsday.com isn’t terribly sticky. The average reader only spends 4 minutes 25 seconds a month on it. “Confronted with having to pay for a site you may use less than five minutes a month, you think you are going to pay for it?” Doctor writes. “Wrong site. Wrong year. Wrong metro area.” He does allow that the pay model might hold some promise if Newsday were to “shift its model to being more hyper-local about Long Island, rather than bringing the world to Long Island.”

Media analyst Kevin Kamen was also quick to pooh-pooh Cablevision’s announcement:

“If Cablevision honestly believes that charging a web subscriber fee is going to significantly impact their profit margins then they are really in for a shocker. This has not been an effective tool to drive revenue at other newspapers and will not increase the valuation of Newsday. If anything, millions less will visit their website and readers will seek other alternatives to fill their appetite for local news.”

Prediction: No More Saturday ‘Newsday’

Feb 13 2009 10:32AM EST

By Jeffrey Bercovici

Portfolio.com

http://www.portfolio.com/

Prediction: No More Saturday ‘Newsday’

Could Saturday soon cease to be a Newsday on Long Island? Media appraiser Kevin Kamen thinks it will, predicting that Cablevision will cease publishing a Saturday edition of the paper to save money. “By cutting out a Saturday edition Cablevision could quickly realize a savings across the board, be able to further eliminate editorial and production positions and essentially streamline costs that help their profit margins,” he writes.

Increasingly, this sort of thing is being considered at those newspapers that aren’t shutting down altogether. The Detroit News and Free Press recently limited home delivery to the three most profitable days of the week, forcing readers who want to buy the paper on other days to trek to the newsstand for a scaled-down edition.

Cablevision bought Newsday for $650 million just last year, but has already been forced to write down its value by more than half.