The Express Is Not for Sale

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The SF Appeal, an online newspaper, posted a story this morning stating that the owners of the San Francisco Examiner may soon purchase either the SF Weekly or the East Bay Express. Although we’re unclear as to what is happening with the SF Weekly, Jay Youngdahl, president of the Express, told the staff this morning that our newspaper is “definitely not for sale” and that owners of the Examiner are not buying the Express.

Youngdahl said the Express, which is independently owned, had a “strong year in 2012” and that he “expects an even stronger 2013.”

The SF Weekly, which is owned by the Village Voice Media chain, has been rumored to be up for sale since last spring, when the Examiner’s owners bought the San Francisco Bay Guardian. The Guardian now shares the same office with the Examiner in San Francisco.

For many years, the former owners of the Guardian had been locked in a newspaper war and a nasty legal battle with the former owners of Village Voice Media. Then, after the two sides finally settled their legal fight, Guardian owner Bruce Brugmann sold his paper to the owners of the Examiner. Several months later, the owners of Village Voice Media sold the chain to a group led by top employees of the organization. With the heated rivalry between the Guardian and the SF Weekly dead, rumors sprouted that the owners of the Examiner wanted to buy the SF Weekly, too.

The Examiner ownership is led by San Francisco newspaperman Todd Vogt, who has made it repeatedly clear that he is bullish on newspapers — despite the loss of advertising revenue for the industry nationwide.

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The Express also used to be owned by Village Voice Media but then became independent in 2007, when it was purchased by a small group of investors, including Youngdahl.

Jody Colley, publisher of the Express, said the paper is thriving and that other potential buyers have shown interest in acquiring it as well. “It’s no secret that we at the East Bay Express are operating a successful publication and have a love affair with the fantastic community we serve,” she said in a statement. “Because of that, we are often approached by interested buyers who believe in our financial future. However, we are having far too much fun and have too deep of a commitment to our fellow East Bay citizens to relinquish this publication.”

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