Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Creative Loafing Acquisition Could Shift National Ad Networks

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Creative Loafing Acquisition Could Shift National Ad Networks

Article excerpt

Creative Loafing chief Ben Eason knew if he wanted to keep growing the company -- founded by his family in 1972 -- he was going to have to expand in a big way.

So when he got word through a friend the owners of the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper might be amenable to an offer last December, he tapped them on the shoulder. The chance to own the alternative papers in Chicago and Washington DC, the nation's third and eighth ranked designated market areas respectively, was too good to pass up.

After several months of dialogue and hunting around for financing, Creative Loafing agreed to buy those two papers on Tuesday which will join the company's stable of weeklies in Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Tampa and Sarasota Fla. Eason would not reveal how much the company is on the hook.

The real estate is not part of the deal. The Chicago Reader's parent company sold the Chicago building to a company called Instep Ventures* and the shareholders are hanging on to the property in D.C.

Calls placed to co-owner and President of the Chicago Reader Bob Roth were not immediately returned.

The Creative Loafing purchase is the latest transaction in a fast-consolidating alternative weekly landscape -- a result of the same forces bearing down on big city dailies sideswiped by declining classified ad revenue and circulation.

In an interview earlier this month for an upcoming August feature on alternative weeklies, Eason told E&P that a "certain inevitability" is creeping into what has always been a "scrappy industry. …

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