Random observations about the sale of the Review-Journal to News + Media Capital Group LLC
1. If Brian Greenspun is the purchaser, one assumes that after years of teasing speculation that he would do so, he would be very publicly dancing up and down Bonanza Road.
2. However, one also wonders if Brian Greenspun, through the mechanism of the joint operating agreement that binds the two papers, would have to be made privy to the identity of the new owner.
3. Perhaps not; maybe he only needs to know the new LLC’s registered agent. But the Department of Justice still nominally oversees JOAs, and it might want to know more. (A Sun story about the mystery noted that Mr. Greenspun "said he has a good idea of the new owner's identity." The story doesn't elaborate.)
4. The new owner is said to have media experience — a statement at least somewhat belied by all this secrecy; a truly media-savvy owner would understand how he or she is dinging the paper’s credibility and hurting staff morale by cloaking his/her identity.
5. News + Media Manager Michael Schroeder, the company's public face, has carried out media deals for anonymous investors before.
6. Consider: RJ Publisher Justin Taylor told the newsroom that the new owners wouldn’t meddle in editorial affairs — and then stopped the presses to remove some offending passages from the paper’s own story on the deal.
Hear more: Who Bought The Las Vegas Review-Journal?
7. Taylor also says the sale doesn't affect the paper's 2016 plan to form a five-person investigative team.
8. The narrative wants the new owner to be either an Adelsonian supervillain determined to use his pricey new toy to devious ends. (After all, Adelson has shown an interest in other media acquisitions before.) Or a white knight who … well, we’ll get back to you on that unlikelihood.
9. But the reality is that it's probably some perfectly boring business macher(s) who simply didn't grasp that SOP moves from other biz contexts — like shielding your ownership stake — wouldn't play as well when you've just bought a roomful of professional snoops.
10. One wonders whether the R-J's advertisers — among them, major hotel-casino companies — have any concerns or questions about the hidden ownership. One wonders whether they could bring any meaningful pressure to bear.
11. If News + Media wildly overpaid for the Review-Journal, it probably also has the means to staff the paper, and pay that staff, at levels befitting a main daily newspaper serving a metro area of 2 million.
12. We may know the answer as early as tomorrow, as it appears that New Media Investment Group will have to file an 8-K form with SEC reporting the sale -- including "the identity of the person(s) … to whom they were sold."
— Scott Dickensheets, Andrew Kiraly, and Heidi Kyser