Digital First Media, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News and other local dailies, has taken itself off the market and its chief executive is stepping down, according to a memo sent Thursday to employees.
New York-based Digital First had told employees in September that the company was reviewing its strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company either as a whole or in regional clusters. Chief Executive John Paton wrote in the memo that was no longer the case.
“While the review process is not complete it has been determined that a sale of the company as previously speculated is not in the best interest of shareholders at this time,” wrote Paton, who also informed employees he was leaving as chief executive in June and being replaced by Chief Operating Officer Steve Rossi.
The memo further stated that the company was continuing discussion concerning “selected assets” and looking at potential acquisition opportunities.
In March, there had been reports that New York private investment firm Apollo Global Management LCC was close to buying Digital First in a deal valued at $400 million.
Digital First owns 800 daily and weekly papers and news websites that serve 15 states. Its local assets include the Daily News, Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram and Pasadena Star-News.
Digital First was formed in December 2013 through a merger of MediaNews Group Inc., owner of the local papers, and 21st Century Media. It is controlled by Alden Global Capital, a New York hedge fund.
Attempts to reach Los Angeles News Group Publisher and President Ron Hasse were not successful.