Thinking of selling your newspaper? The Laker/Lutz News Success Story

February 8, 2022 |

Jan Davis, Media Content Creator, Interviewed John Mahoney, Senior Associate, Grimes, McGovern & Associates

GMA represented the Laker/Lutz News in their acquisition by Street Media LLC. Based in California, Street Media is the parent company of the Village Voice, LA Weekly, Irvine Weekly and the Bay Area Marina Times. The Laker/Lutz News is a weekly community newspaper and website serving the growing suburban markets of Pasco and north Hillsborough counties in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Yes, that is correct, a California based publishing group purchased a Florida Community Paper. In a post pandemic economy with video conferencing the new norm for meetings and centralized operations, the marketplace for interested parties to acquire your paper could be in the next county or the opposite coast.

So, what made a Florida newspaper interesting to a California newspaper group? If you are thinking of selling your paper this year or in the future, consider these key selling points from the Laker/Lutz deal and what you need to know.

1. Know the positive attributes about your location. Do you see signs of growth in your market that you can point to? This includes economic and residential development for homes and businesses, average median income, potential for expansion, competition for content.

2. Know your numbers. Business owners should have a strong handle on revenue and expenses, and make the right decisions, whether it’s reducing extraneous costs or making sensible investments. Dips in revenue were expected during the height of the pandemic, but a buyer will want to know see how the business weathered the storm. Did the paper start marketing in different ways, engage in more social media work, continue to work with new and existing advertisers, create innovative campaigns, or create a data product to keep revenue flowing in? The financials should be straightforward with entries clear for any buyer to review.

3. Know your Advertisers. The business should have a track record of cultivating and maintaining good advertiser relationships and demonstrate steady renewals year over year, with an influx of new clients.

4. Know and develop your people. The staff was a key asset in the Laker/Lutz sale. Has your team demonstrated autonomy and responsibility in managing their work and deadlines, within the budget? Can they produce the publication and manage the advertisers so that the owner isn’t involved in every detail? Buyers are interested in publications where the departure of the owner will not result in a reduction in revenue or quality content.

5. Know what Digital innovations you need for the future. Buyers can bring centralized solutions papers with digital platforms including delivering digital revenue. However, buyers also want to see if these necessary digital steps have been implemented in a form they build from. Do advertisers receive a rate card that includes digital placements and are there social media sites established such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram?

6. Know the systems you should have in place. Buyers appreciate systems they can easily take over, and in some cases, manage remotely. One example is an advertising template where the new owner can immediately insert programmatic ads and new content. Buyers who are acquiring multiple papers use the power of centralized administration, as opposed to local content creation and distribution. A lot of back-office functions can be done from anywhere, as opposed to the localization then of the paper’s content, and its distribution, and its advertising relationships.

7. Know that the quality of your content is your greatest asset. The steady readership and advertising renewals was enabled by the relevant and objective content in the paper.

8. Know how to keep track of your most relevant data. A buyer wants to see the numbers and trends for the paper. The Laker/Lutz News had the data ready for us to prepare a very comprehensive memorandum for them.

Grimes McGovern & Associates advised and guided the Laker/Lutz News, shining a bright light on all these positive attributes for marketing their publication. This resulted in interest from buyers near and far and resulted in a positive outcome for both the Laker/Lutz News and acquirer Street Media LLC.

This successful transaction journey began with a complimentary initial assessment and advice from Grimes, McGovern & Associates. The Laker/Lutz News was exclusively represented by John Mahoney of Grimes, McGovern & Associates, a NY based M&A firm. John can be contacted at 1.813.951.2417 or JMahoney@MediaMergers.com

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