Platinum Equity has completed its acquisition of The San Diego Union-Tribune. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the deal amount is estimated to be between $15 million and $50 million. The paper is the only major newspaper in the San Diego area, has valuable real estate assets, and has yet to make significant cost cuts, three key items that help differentiate The San Diego Union-Tribune from other failing newspapers around the country. Platinum believes its team, which includes Louis Samson and David Black, has the operational expertise necessary to turn the paper around.
Since 2005, private equity firms have acquired 45 newspaper or newsletter media companies, according to the PitchBook Platform. Platinum's acquisition is only the second newspaper buyout since the beginning of 2008. Over half of the deals happened in 2005 and 2006 but there were still 18 acquisitions in 2007 showing there was an incredible drop in interest in newspapers by private equity investors starting in 2008. Another interesting note is that 31 of the buyouts were add-on acquisitions, with Fortress Investment Group's GateHouse Media leading the way with 9 such deals.