Advocate*Weekly Sale Final

Deal Gets Go-Ahead From Feds.

New Mass. Media’s five Advocate/Weekly alternative newspapers are now officially the property of the Hartford Courant and its parent company, media behemoth Times Mirror.

Hartford Courant Publisher Marty Petty on Friday announced that the sale had closed.

Although the price tag was not disclosed, informed speculation within the company suggests that the papers sold for around $17 to $20 million, and that sellers Geoff Robinson and Christine Austin received a combination of cash and Times Mirror stock.

“It was more stock than cash,” says one source.

According to a press release issued by the Courant, federal regulators signed off on the sale, which transferred ownership in the Hartford, New Haven and Valley Advocate s and the Fairfield County/Westchester County Weekly.

How the regulatory approval affects a private lawsuit seeking to block the sale is unclear. The suit, filed on behalf of a Hartford Advocate reader and an advertiser in federal court in Hartford April 21, alleges that the Courant’s acquisition violates antitrust law.

The plaintiff’s lawyers, UC-Berkeley law school professor Stephen Barnett and Hartford-based counsel David Beizer, could not be reached for comment.

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