It’s official: Chicago Reader sold to Sun-Times parent

A memo from group publisher Alison Draper and CFO Tammy Bailey to Creative Loafing employees confirms the sale:

We would like to inform you of the sale of the Chicago Reader to Wrapports, LLC owner of Sun-Times Media and publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and more than 40 other media properties. The sale is effective today.

Wrapport’s expertise with strategic investments in emerging technologies and new media, along with their vision for and commitment to modernizing the business of journalism, makes them a strong owner of the Chicago Reader. Wrapports’s ownership and executive team recognizes the value of the Reader brand and its essential role in the city of Chicago. We are confident that the Reader will preserve its valuable legacy, continue its current momentum, and realize its growth potential under Wrapports’s ownership.

In a piece reporting the sale for the Sun Times, David Roeder says the Reader’s new owners “will examine ways the publications can share content and whether to distribute the Reader as part of the Sun-Times.” But, Wrapports chief executive Timothy Knight said, “the Reader will continue to be distributed separately.”

Mara Shalhoup will continue as the paper’s editor, Reader media columnist Michael Miner writes. Draper will continue to be the paper’s publisher until the end of June. The Reader will likely move to the Sun-Times headquarters after the lease for its River North offices expires in 2014. Unlike at the Reader’s digs, Miner writes, the Sun-Times’ women’s room is heated.

And there are more conventional benefits:

The acquisition gives advertisers access to a type of affluent, urban reader they could reach through no other Sun-Times Media paper. And it gives Sun-Times Media papers access to Reader content such as listings and reviews. The Reader will benefit, presumably, from the new owners’ deep pockets, entrepreneurial savvy, and unbridled ambition.

The likely sale to Wrapports was first reported about two weeks ago.

The Reader and Washington City Paper were sold to the Creative Loafing chain of Southern alt-weeklies in 2007. Creative Loafing declared bankruptcy not long after; its CEO lost control of the papers to a hedge fund during the bankruptcy auction. In March, the Reader, the City Paper, and Atlanta’s Creative Loafing announced they would seek new ownership groups and that employees would take a 5 percent pay cut. || Related: Sun-Times ownership of Chicago Reader would be unusual in alt-weekly world (Poynter)

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