Memo: Digital First Media no longer for sale

Jim Romenesko | San Jose Mercury News

Newspaper giant Digital First Media, which announced it was exploring a sale of its papers last year, is no longer looking for a buyer, according to a memo from Chief Executive Officer John Paton and Chief Operating Officer Steve Rossi obtained by media blogger Jim Romenesko.

In the memo, Paton and Rossi tell staffers at the company that a sale is "not in the best interest of shareholders at this time." It will, however, continue to look at "potential acquisition opportunities."

This news runs counter to previous reports that said the company's assets, which comprise the third-largest newspaper group, were on the verge of acquisition by Apollo Global Management. In March, media analyst Ken Doctor reported that the private equity company had almost settled on a $400 million deal for Digital First Media's assets.

The memo also says that Paton will step down from his CEO duties in June. Rossi will lead the company.

In addition, we wanted to let you know that in light of the strong trajectory the Company is on, John has decided that the time is right for him to dedicate his efforts on a full-time basis to IVA Ventures. IVA Ventures is a company that actively seeks strategic investments in seed, early and growth stage digital media start-ups aimed at accelerating the digital transformation of legacy media companies. We expect to have an ongoing working relationship with IVA Ventures in identifying cutting-edge products to accelerate our digital growth. John will remain CEO until our fiscal year end which ends on June 30 before taking up his new position, at which time Steve will assume leadership of DFM.

Correction: A previous version of this post said Steve Rossi would succeed John Paton as Chief Executive Officer. In fact, he will retain his Chief Operating Officer title.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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