Friday, May 18, 2007

East Bay Express editor buys paper from chain

East Bay Express editor Stephen Buel and a group of investors have purchased the 60,000-circulation alternative weekly from the Village Voice Media chain, which also owns the SF Weekly and other free weeklies nationwide. The deal closed yesterday (May 17) and the price hasn't been disclosed. Buel's partners in the deal are Hal Brody, who started an alt-weekly in Kansas City and sold it in 1999 to the firm that became Village Voice Media, and co-founder and calendar editor Kelly Vance. Another investor identified was Bradley Zeve, founder and CEO of Monterey County Weekly. The names of the other investors haven't yet been published. E&P said Buel’s alt-weekly experience began in 1985 when he founded a paper in Little Rock, Ark. He was hired to edit the Express shortly there after. Buel also worked for the Berkeley Gazette, Albany Times-Journal, and Mercury News. The Chron story includes quotes from experts discussing the sale, which is unusual in this era of media consolidation.


Bob Gamboa said...

This is the message I sent to the East Bay Express Blog. Let's see if they post it:

Congratulations. A couple of questions. Identify your investors by name. How much money did each put up? How much did the EBX cost? What were the terms? Is there a non-compete with VVM, or will they move into your territory and you will move into theirs? How does this effect the Bay Guaridian antitrust suit, if at all?

If you don't want to answer these questions, why are you in the news business? If journalists demand this kind of information from the people they cover, shouldn't they disclose it to the public they serve?


Bob Gamboa, Berkeley

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, Bob, give them time! It's been what, 48 hours? Maybe you didn't mean it to sound that harsh?

I used to work for the EBX, both the original owners and New Times, and it will be nice to see it going back to being a truly independent paper.

Probably the antitrust suit won't apply to the EBX, as the premise of that suit was that New Times was undercutting pricing by combining sales of ads into both the EBX and the SF Weekly. So if the Express is independent, it should no longer be liable. But the suit against New Times could probably still go forward. Just my somewhat informed opinion.