I’m late getting to this, but a hearty congratulations to our friends at OC Weekly who were acquired last week by Duncan McIntosh, a publisher of Yachting and boating publications in Newport Beach. Yes, the editors and writers from the Weekly can thank a wealthy gabacho to sign the front of their paychecks.
Newspaper buy and sell side analysts I called last week told TheLiberalOC that when the paper coming up on the one year mark for being for sale without a buyer, two likely scenarios emerged — the shuttering of the publication altogether or a fire sale of sorts. The asking price, they surmised, was between 3.5X to 5.5X the Weekly’s cash flow; being privately held, the folks at the Weekly and those managing the sale of the Weekly won’t disclose that information (which is perfectly agreeable). But when you consider the nation’s largest circulation alt-weekly, the Village Voice in New York City, which has about three times the circulation (OC Weekly’s has a declining circulation of 45,000) in a market significantly larger than Orange County sold for under $1.5 million, the fire sale scenario was pretty likely.
From the New York Times on the sale of the Voice last October: “The digital revolution, changes in ownership, mismanagement and round after round of layoffs rendered the predictable tragedies. During later years, the business model, essentially reliant on lewd classifieds, could no longer sustain itself; sex and sexual provocation were readily available all over the Internet. In this way the demise of The Voice has much in common with the fall of Playboy, which announced recently that beginning next year it would no longer feature pictures of naked women — there was little point.”
So now the team at OC Weekly can thank Newport Beach’s Duncan McIntosh, who owns publications such as Sea Magazine, BoatingWorld and the Log Newspaper and journalism magazine Editor & Publisher. Editor & Publisher announced it was shutting down in December 2009 only to be acquired — at fire sale prices — in January 2010, which suggests McIntosh likely got OC Weekly on the cheap but has unannounced plans to invest in the publication which is good. One source told us the sale price for OC Weekly was likely between $250,000 and $500,000, which seems very cheap but again, details of the sale were not made public.
McIntosh’s company also produces the Newport Boat Show and the Lido Yacht Expo. The former parent of OC Weekly, Voice Media Group, has sold a number of publications to “focus on its core products.”
So congratulations to OC Weekly on local ownership. We look forward to seeing how McIntosh’s new investments will pay off.