Versa Capital Management has formed a new platform company, Civitas Media, to consolidate the four community news media entities owned by Versa: Freedom Central, Heartland Publications, Impressions Media, and Ohio Community Media. On a combined basis the new platform publishes 35 local daily newspapers including 28 with weekend editions as well as 63 weekly products. These papers have a combined average weekly circulation of 1.6 million.
The merged organization is led by CEO Michael Bush, formerly the CEO of group member Heartland Publications, and COO Scott Champion, formerly the CEO of group member Ohio Community Media.
The capitalization and working capital requirements of the business are supported by a new $62.5 million multi-bank senior term loan and revolving credit facility led by RBS Citizens.
“I am very excited to be working with Versa Capital, which has assembled a valuable collection of community media assets and has a reputation for supporting its companies both financially and operationally. Civitas has a promising future as a media company, and is well positioned to further benefit from the eventual recovery of U.S. economic activity,” said Mr. Bush.
Civitas Media is a publisher of community newspapers in 12 Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern states. The company includes the following media groups: Freedom Central, four daily newspapers in Illinois, Ohio and Missouri; Heartland Publications, 17 daily and 29 weekly papers across Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia; Ohio Community Media, with 13 daily and 30 weekly publications across the state of Ohio; and Impressions Media, which operates the Wilkes Barre Times Leader and other local publications in the northeastern Pennsylvania area. The company employs 1,650 people at 99 locations across 12 states in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and South.
“We have assembled an excellent group of community news publishers over the past 15 months and combining them together under the Civitas umbrella is a logical and value-enhancing result,” said Versa’s CEO, Gregory Segall. “Community-based media has remained profitable and largely avoided the level of financial pressure experienced by large daily metros in recent years. They are the principal source of information and news content as well as the primary advertising vehicles for their communities, whether in print or online, and we see a more stable and resilient future for this sector.”
Versa Capital Management invests in special situations involving middle market companies with revenues in the $100 million to $1 billion range or assets of $25 million to $500 million. The firm has $1.2 billion of capital under management and is based in Philadelphia, PA (www.versa.com).
© 2012 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 9-12-12