Hyperlocal news network Black Press Media announced Monday (Jan. 15) it is seeking a sale to new ownership as part of a corporate restructuring transaction.
The ownership group would include Canadian institutional investors Canso Investment Counsel, Deans Knight Capital Management and Carpenter Media Group.
As part of the restructuring, the company filed for creditor protection in the B.C. Supreme Court and intends to seek recognition of such proceeding in the United States, in Delaware. The company said it intends to continue operating its publications during the restructuring process.
“This plan will lead to a stronger, more sustainable Black Press that will continue to provide by far the best local Canadian and American news coverage in our markets and the best ways for advertisers to reach their customers,” Glenn Rogers, chief executive officer of Black Press, said in a statement. “Canso, Deans Knight and Carpenter Media have been true partners throughout this process as we’ve built a plan that we believe is the right way forward for Black Press.”
Carpenter Media Group, formerly Carpenter Newsmedia, operates leading community news publications in southern United States, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky.
Carpenter publishes titles such as the Bowling Green Daily News in Kentucky and the Port Arthur News in Texas.
“Canso and Deans Knight – both Canadian long-time supporters of the company – and Carpenter Media Group, are firm believers in local media and the future of Black Press,” said Todd Carpenter, chairman of Carpenter Media Group. “We are all committed to maintaining the company’s vital journalistic presence in Canada and to a plan that creates the most financially beneficial environment for Black Press to continue to do what it does best – produce excellent journalism and advertising services for the communities it serves all across Canada and the U.S.”
Under the terms of the proposed transaction, which will require court approval, Black Press Media will continue to be Canadian controlled.
Black Press Media intends to continue to operate its 80-plus local news publications – online and in print – as well as its lifestyle magazines and various customer solutions services within Canada, with its head office remaining in Surrey, B.C. The media company employs roughly 1,200 employees between its Canadian and U.S. divisions.
Monday’s filing comes on the same day Black Press Founder David Black’s retirement was announced.
Black founded Black Press Media with the purchase of the Williams Lake Tribune in 1975. Over a multi-decade and distinguished career, Black volunteered in several leading board positions, including serving as governor of the Canadian Newspaper Association and chair of the B.C. Progress Board in 2003.
An avid supporter of sports, Black led the team that won the rights for Victoria to host the 1994 Commonwealth Games and continued to support the quadrennial multi-sport event in various roles thereafter.
Black’s four adult children have been involved in the growing media group over the years, holding board seats.
In a separate statement, the Black family offered thanks to employees for their dedication and professionalism, as well as advertisers and readers for their continued support of local journalism.
“The Black family is confident that the restructuring of Black Press announced today will be successful and enable Black Press to continue to provide high quality community journalism, and that the proposed new owners will be excellent stewards of Black Press’ treasured publications.”