Journalists and staff of the Nevada daily newspaper Las Vegas Review Journal are now playing a game “Who is our new boss?”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that it had been sold to a newly formed Delaware company, News + Media Capital Group LLC, for $140 million on December 8. The sale would include the paper and some sister publications.
The Review-Journal will continue to be operated by Gatehouse Media, a subsidiary of New Media Investment Group.
In March, New media acquired the Review Journal’s parent company Stephens Media LLC for $102.5 million in cash, making last week’s sale price $38 million higher than its price tag just nine months ago.
According to Michael Schroeder, who was identified as the manager of News + Media, the investment group had been looking to buy the Review-Journal “for six to eight months” and considers Las Vegas to be a great market. He also wouldn’t discuss the identity of the new owners.
Asked about the identity of the company’s new owner, Schroeder said (in a since deleted quote) in the Review Journal: “They want you to focus on your jobs … don’t worry about who they are.”
The paper’s journalists used Twitter to protest the new owner’s lack of transparency, using links to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, which includes a section on transparency.
“The Society’s Code of Ethics stresses that those engaged in journalism need to be accountable and transparent,” SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman Andrew Seaman said in a statement. “We now expect that of those behind News + Media Capital Group LLC.”
Billionaires Charles and David Koch have denied purchasing the paper. There’s been speculation that Republican godfather Sheldon Adelson could be involved in the mystery purchase.
An Adelson representative has not responded to requests for comment but Sen. Harry Reid might have given a clue when he said: “We have a few rich people in Las Vegas, one of whom is well known, so we’ll see. And he owns newspapers in other places.” Adelson owns the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom.