A digitally focused company has purchased an old media standard. Sun-Times Media Holdings, owner of The Chicago Sun-Times and over forty other media ventures, has been sold to a newly formed investment group called Wrapports LLC. The announcement was made late Wednesday evening, and while details of the arrangement have not yet been revealed, it’s been reported that the price was in the region of $20 million.
Wrapports is led by Timothy P. Knight, a former media executive with Newsday, and Michael W. Ferro, the CEO of Merrick Ventures, which deals with technology companies. (Full disclosure: Michael W. Ferro has been advised by Peter Osnos, the vice chairman of the Columbia Journalism Review.)
The Associated Press reported that the name Wrapports refers to a combination of “the ‘wrapping’ of a newspaper, with the ‘rapport’ planned by new technology.” Knight told the AP that the plan is to take the organization in a digital direction:
At a time when the public’s appetite for news stories, photographs, videos and blogs has reached an unprecedented level, Sun-Times Media is poised to meet that demand by developing creative ways to deliver a true multi-media experience for our users — how they want it, where they want it, when they want it.
It may seem odd for a new business to invest in an industry as risky as the newspaper business. But the Chicago Tribune reported some speculative reasons for the purchase from a “longtime industry executive” who went unnamed:
The Sun-Times’ suburban papers were important to the transaction, a source said, as they have a loyal following and their digital potential hasn’t come close to being realized.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.