AIM Media Midwest LLC announced today that it has acquired the Ohio print and online newspaper publishing assets and the commercial printing assets of Civitas Media LLC. Civitas, headquartered in Davidson, North Carolina, is a portfolio company of Philadelphia-based private equity investment firm Versa Capital Management LLC.
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Civitas Media in the transaction.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. In conjunction with the transaction, AIM announced that all Ohio employees working directly for any of the individual newspaper publications will be hired immediately and continue in their respective positions with the new company. In addition, AIM will be hiring a select group of employees currently employed by Civitas in corporate or centralized functions located in Ohio following a period of transition.
The transaction includes 17 daily newspapers (16 in Ohio and one in West Virginia), 15 weekly publications and a variety of specialty publications including shoppers and magazines. The largest daily newspaper included in the group is the Lima (OH) News.
“Civitas is one of the most respected and admired publishing companies principally serving local community markets in the United States,” said Jeremy L. Halbreich, chairman and CEO of AIM and former chairman and CEO of Sun-Times Media LLC (Chicago). Halbreich is the former founder, chairman, president and CEO of American Consolidated Media (Dallas), and former president and general manager of The Dallas Morning News.
“My associate Rick Starks (President and COO of AIM, former CEO of Ohio Community Media LLC, former Managing Director at Carl Marks Advisory, former Executive VP & COO at American Consolidated Media, and former Senior VP – Sales & Marketing of The Dallas Morning News) and I have had the recent and wonderful opportunity to become well acquainted with the senior leadership at Civitas and at Versa and we salute their demonstrated commitment and support to these local communities throughout their years of ownership,” Halbreich added. “These publications and the service they provide their respective communities in Ohio and West Virginia represent a great testimony to the hard work, dedication and true community service established and maintained by Civitas over recent years in conjunction with their talented staff of dedicated employees.”
Halbreich concluded, “We are gratified by Civitas’ and Versa’s confidence in us as publishers of local, community newspapers to build on their recent history and allow us to enhance the focus on community service. We look forward to providing the guidance and direction necessary for these publications and our new employees to engage their local audiences and set the civic agenda and discourse both online and in print for the communities they serve.”
Civitas CEO Lior Yahalomi stated, “I am pleased to have AIM, a first-rate organization, run by such high-quality and respected media industry leaders as Jeremy Halbreich and Rick Starks, acquire Civitas’ Ohio and West Virginia properties.” He added, “I also want to express my thanks to all of our Civitas Ohio and West Virginia employees for their long-term, loyal and conscientious service. I wish them all the best as they transition to be an integral part of the AIM organization and culture.”