PETER D. BARBEY BUYS THE VILLAGE VOICE
October 12, 2015 — The Village Voice, America’s first alternative newsweekly and an icon of New York City journalism, has been sold to a company controlled by Peter D. Barbey, investor and President of the Reading Eagle Company, a family-owned media company that, under various names, has published newspapers for eight successive generations since 1796.
The deal was announced today by Barbey’s investment company, Black Walnut Holdings, and Voice Media Group.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Voice has been owned by VMG since January 2013, when a group of former Village Voice Media executives purchased it and ten other publications from the previous owners.
VMG will manage general operations at the Voice through February. Following that transition period, the two groups will continue to produce and share their signature film and TV coverage, and the Voice will continue to offer its advertisers VMG’s web and digital agency services, operated through its fast-growing V Digital Services subsidiary. VMG also will continue to sell national advertising for the Voice.
“We were impressed with VMG’s professionalism and creativity, and we wanted to continue to partner with them on concepts that are beneficial to readers and our clients,” said Barbey.
“During a time of great challenges and great opportunities in the industry, we’re thrilled that we’ve found an experienced journalist and operator with such considerable resources to take the reins at the Voice,” said VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias. “We truly love and respect our staff at the Voice, and it’s fulfilling to know they’ll be in good hands.”
Since being founded in 1955 by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer, the Voice has been a journalistic touchstone in New York. It has won Pulitzer Prizes for its reporting, as well as widespread acclaim for its cutting-edge cultural coverage. Today the Voice maintains a robust online presence alongside its weekly print offering, and continues to serve the community with events such as the Obie Awards for local theater.
“The Village Voice continues to be one of America’s great newspaper stories, and, to me, the Voice belongs to New York much more than it belongs to any individual owner,” said Barbey. “The Voice deserves to be the best it can be. We plan to expand resources, coverage and reach, in print and online.”
Following the sale of the Voice, VMG will continue to own and operate V Digital Services, its digital agency, along with Phoenix New Times, Denver Westword, LA Weekly, Miami New Times, the Dallas Observer, the Houston Press, OC Weekly and New Times Broward-Palm Beach.
VMG announced in January that it had retained merger and acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray to explore new strategies for its publishing assets, including the possible sale or acquisition of alternative publications or digital businesses.