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.