Stern to sell L.A. Weekly, 6 others

Price is second major consideration, Schneiderman sez

NEW YORK — Stern Publishing is selling its seven free weekly alternative newspapers, a stable that includes the L.A. Weekly, the Orange County Weekly and the Village Voice.

Stern Publishing owner Leonard Stern said he has decided to sell the company, which employs more than 500 people nationwide and enjoys revenues of $80 million, after consulting his children, who told him that they do not want to pursue careers in publishing.

The Gotham investment banking firm of Veronis Suhler & Associates will handle the sale. The firm is in the process of assembling a book listing the company’s assets to send to some 100 prospective buyers, according to Stern Publishing prexy David Schneiderman.

Schneiderman said Stern will have final say on the buyer. “The buyer will be decided by who will treat our staff with respect and a positive attitude, and not come in and hack a profitable company,” Schneiderman told Daily Variety. “Price will be the second major consideration.”

Schneiderman expects a deal to be inked by the end of the year.

Stern started in the alternative weekly business in 1985, when he purchased The Voice from Rupert Murdoch. He since acquired L.A. Weekly, Seattle Weekly, City Pages in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Cleveland Free Times and founded the Long Island Voice.

The combined circulation of the papers is 890,000.