LA Weekly Is Being Sold To A Mysterious, Newly Formed Company
Voice Media Group announced plans Wednesday to sell LA Weekly to a mysterious, newly formed company called Semanal Media, LLC.
A spokesperson for Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a merger and acquisition firm representing Voice Media Group in the sale, told the L.A. Times that Semanal Media is "a new entity created for the purpose of this transaction." Sara April, the firm's spokesperson, declined to answer questions from the Times about who owns Semanal Media or where the company is based. April did not immediately return LAist's request for comment. The Los Angeles Business Journal refers to Semanal Media as being "downtown-based" in their coverage, citing "sources with knowledge of the deal." Members of the Weekly's local bargaining unit were informed of the news this afternoon, according to a press release from VMG. VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias said he expects the deal to be finalized within two weeks.
There is seemingly no information about Semanal Media, LLC online (the word "Semanal" means "weekly" in Spanish, fwiw) and there is no listing for the company in the California Secretary of State's LLC database. A Secretary of State spokesperson told LAist that the database is updated daily, and that LLC filings typically take four to five days to process.
LA Weekly has been an essential part of the city's fabric since it was founded in 1978, but the future direction of the storied alternative paper has been uncertain since January, when VMG announced that they were looking for a buyer. VMG was formed in 2012 when a group of media execs bought out then-parent group Village Voice Media Holdings to acquire ownership of a group of publications that, at the time, also included The Village Voice, Seattle Weekly, and SF Weekly, among others. VMG sold off SF Weekly and Seattle Weekly the following year, and the Village Voice, their flagship title, was sold in 2015.
LA Weekly has won more awards than any other paper in the country from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, and in 2007 they became the first newspaper to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for restaurant criticism, thanks to the work of Jonathan Gold.
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray's Sara April told LAist back in January that the planned sale was part of VMG's longterm diversification plan.