Private investment firm Apollo Global Management LCC is close to a deal to buy Digital First Media, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News and other newspapers in the region, according to media reports.
The New York private equity firm would pay $400 million for Digital First, the second-largest newspaper company in the U.S. by circulation, according to Reuters, which cited unnamed sources. New York-based Digital First owns 800 daily and weekly papers and news websites that serve 15 states.
Apollo has so far prevailed over rival New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP in the auction for Digital First, the Reuters story reported – though the sources cautioned the negotiations could still fall apart or the outcome change.
The Daily News, in Woodland Hills, is part of the larger Los Angeles News Group of papers that includes the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Torrance Daily Breeze, among others.
In a memo to employees from September, Digital First leadership said the company was looking at strategic alternatives that included selling the entire company as a whole or one or more regional clusters.
Digital First was formed in December 2013 in a merger between MediaNews Group Inc., owner of the Daily News and Los Angeles News Group, and 21st Century Media. It is controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, in New York.
Attempts to reach Los Angeles News Group Publisher and President Ron Hasse were not successful.