Voice Media Group | OC Weekly

Voice Media Group has hired merger-and-acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to help it determine what it calls "new strategies for its publishing assets," which is the typical language used when companies put their papers up for sale.

Voice Media Group publishes The Village Voice, LA Weekly and The Riverfront Times, among other papers.

The firm will begin "immediately considering options" at the OC weekly, according to the announcement. Those options could include a sale or some sort of partnership opportunity.

Voice Media Group acquired the Village Voice and its properties in 2012, in a transaction with Village Voice Media.

Gustavo Arellano, editor of OC Weekly, writes that interested buyers stand to gain "a motivated band of misfits," and adds that the paper takes payment in "in pho, pesos, dollars and I think Bitcoin."

Here's the announcement:

Santa Fe, NM - January 27, 2015 - Voice Media Group has engaged Dirks, Van Essen & Murray and its subsidiary CAL DVM to explore new strategies for its publishing assets, including the sale or acquisition of alternative publications and other digital businesses.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray will begin by immediately considering options at the OC Weekly, which could include the sale of the publication or a local partnership opportunity.

"We're confident this will represent an extremely attractive opportunity for the right buyer or strategic partner," said VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias. "We've been proud to own the Weekly for the past eight years, and we know it will continue to punch above its weight in the future."

Since its founding in 1995, the scrappy Weekly has won dozens of journalism awards and established itself as the leading alternative voice in Orange County and Long Beach, serving more than 225,000 young, active readers with the region's hardest-hitting investigative reporting and cultural commentary. Its irreverent and intelligent coverage includes the syndicated "Ask a Mexican" column by editor Gustavo Arellano, as well as the popular news blog "Navel Gazing" and spirited music, food and arts reporting.

This strategic planning is part of VMG's long-range vision to fine-tune its portfolio. This process is likely to result in the diversification of more of its holdings, which include a fast-growing digital agency business and a national sales arm that serves 56 partner sites and publications with weekly print distribution of 3 million and 95 million page views per month.

"We continue to evaluate all of our properties while at the same time looking at new opportunities," said Tobias. "We will be making moves that fit our business plan and that set our business up for the most success today and in the future."

In addition to its affiliated digital properties, VMG publishes the Village Voice in New York, LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Miami New Times, the Houston Press, Phoenix New Times, City Pages in Minneapolis, the Dallas Observer, the Riverfront Times in St. Louis and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

Tobias went on to say that all communications regarding potential changes to the VMG portfolio will be handled by Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, who can be reached at 505-820-2700.