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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Japanese conglomerate owns equity fund that controls The Record, (201) magazine

THE VISION: A 271-unit apartment building -- to be called Print House -- is under construction in Hackensack, where The Record and North Jersey Media Group operated until 2009 (rendering from JLL Capital Markets).
THE REALITY: Construction on the first building, above and below, is expected to be finished in late summer to early fall 2021. A total of 5 buildings with a total of 654 units are planned for 20 acres between River Street and the Hackensack River. 

 Hedge funds, private equity
have become force in news industry


HACKENSACK, N.J. -- In 2016, a New Jersey hedge fund assumed ownership of Canada's largest newspaper chain "with very little fanfare," The New York Times reported last week.

The story noted "hedge funds and private equity companies have become a force in the news industry," including at The Record of Woodland Park and hundreds of other newspapers owned by Gannett.

"The private equity fund Fortress Investment Group controls the largest American newspaper chain, Gannett, which publishes USA Today, The Arizona Republic and 250 0ther dailies," The Times reported.

"Fortress is owned by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank," the newspaper said.

A SoftBank subsidiary is called SB Media Holdings.

Borgs sell out

The Borg family sold North Jersey Media Group, including The Record, (201) magazine and other daily and weekly newspapers, to Gannett for nearly $40 million in cash in July 2016, but retained ownership of roughly 20 acres along River Street.

Now, with a nearly $49 million construction loan, the Borgs' Fourth Edition Inc. and partners have started work on the first of 5 apartment buildings.

Another apartment building in New Rochelle, N.Y., is called The Printhouse. 

"Print house" is usually a reference to a textile-printing factory. But a "printing house" is a reference to a company that produces "printed matter" -- closer to what The Record did in Hackensack for 110 years.

Cuts, cuts, cuts

Meanwhile, Chatham Asset Management of Chatham, N.J., emerged as the winning bidder last week in a bankruptcy auction for the McClatchy Co., "a chain with 30 media outlets including The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee," Edmund Lee of The Times reported.

"With roots going back to 1957, McClatchy, a consistent winner of top journalism awards, was one of the last major family run publishers" -- similar to the Borgs' standing in New Jersey.

What The Times reported about Chatham's track record as owner of a major newspaper chain is also true about Gannett, which accelerated a process started by Stephen A. Borg when he was publisher of The Record.

Postmedia, the Canadian newspaper chain, cut its workforce, reduced salaries and benefits, and "centralized editorial operations in a way that has made parts of its 106 newspapers into clones of one another," The Times said.

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