Creative Loafing (Atlanta)'s Thomas Wheatley is in Tampa covering the proceedings. He reports that CL CEO Ben Eason's opening bid was $2.3 million, including $825,000 cash and the rest in "in-kind contributions." Atalaya Capital Management countered by bidding $5 million in cash.

Continue ReadingAuction for Creative Loafing Gets Underway

Today's equity auction should be the culmination of nearly a year of bankruptcy court proceedings for the six-paper company. Creative Loafing (Atlanta) is reporting that creditor Atalaya Capital Management is trying to disqualify the other bid for the company, which has been put together by CL CEO Ben Eason. Atalya, calling Eason's bid "facially incomprehensible," is arguing that the sources for contributions included in Eason's bid "are not clear." Meanwhile, the Chicago Reader reports that Atalya managing partner Michael Bogdan has been calling CL publishers to assure them the hedge fund doesn't want to run the company into the ground. On the call to Chicago, Bogdan was joined by former Los Angeles Times editor James O'Shea, who would become a CL board member if Atalya wins control of the company. O'Shea tells Michael Miner that Atalya would make former Des Moines Register president Richard Gilbert interim CEO upon taking over.

Continue ReadingControl of Creative Loafing Up for Grabs in Court Today

"Creative Loafing's bankruptcy is just one more media story to follow, along with the Sun-Times Media Group's bankruptcy and the Tribune Company's bankruptcy," Michael Miner writes. "But CL's is the story I'm part of." He explores the difficulties of "reporting on your own house" as a media writer, and explains why he kept news of Reader layoffs off his blog for four days -- and didn't name any of the departing staffers -- just days after he had broken news of layoffs -- with names -- at Chicago Public Radio. "I have no explanation that will satisfactorily answer this question," he writes. "The fancy one I'll retreat to is one word long: epistemology. You see, it's not simply what journalists know that matters to us but also how we happen to know it. I knew what happened at WBEZ because I got a tip and worked the story; I knew about the Reader because it's home."

Continue ReadingChicago Reader Media Writer Reflects on Covering Creative Loafing

Yesterday was the deadline for interested parties to submit their bids for Creative Loafing, Inc. to a bankruptcy court judge. According to a document filed yesterday, all bidders will be provided with the details of opposing bids by noon today. UPDATE (1:50 pm): Creative Loafing (Atlanta) is reporting that Eason's team and creditor Atalaya Capital Management will be the only two bidders at next Tuesday's auction.

Continue ReadingBids for Creative Loafing Are In and Bidders Will Get Details Today

Village Voice Media executive associate editor Andy Van De Voorde tells the Tennessean that the Scene's rumored financial troubles were not what led the company to sell the paper to Nashville-based SouthComm, Inc. "I have no reason to believe that anyone wasn't pleased with [the Scene] financially," he says. Van De Voorde also says that Scene editor Pete Kotz, who came to Nashville after VVM's Cleveland Scene was merged with Free Times, will leave the paper but remain in the VVM chain. Whether other staffing changes are in the works is not yet clear, though Van De Voorde notes that all Scene and Nfocus magazine employees will receive two weeks severance, plus a week of pay for every year of service and unpaid vacation time from VVM -- whether or not they keep their jobs under the new owners.

Continue ReadingA Few More Details Emerge on Nashville Scene Sale

No surprise here: Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason and the company's largest creditor Atalaya Capital Management both tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they have high hopes for next week's auction of the company in Tampa bankruptcy court. "I think we are absolutely the best bid," Eason says. "Any bid has got to have cash, management and know-how, and be in a position to run the business and pay off debt. ... We have all of that." But Atalaya managing partner Michael Bogdan begs to differ. "We are going to come into court with a bid we believe will prevail," he says. "And if somebody starts with higher bid (sic), we are absolutely willing to raise our bid." It's expected that Atalya will bid a higher dollar figure than Eason's group, but Eason has said he will ask the judge to consider publishing expertise as part of deciding what the "highest and best" bid for the six-paper company is. The auction is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Continue ReadingCreative Loafing’s CEO and Creditors Both Confident About Auction

Village Voice Media today confirmed the rumors that it is selling the Nashville Scene to SouthComm, Inc. VVM will also sell Nfocus magazine to the Nashville-based media company run by former Scene publisher Chris Ferrell. SouthComm also owns AAN member LEO Weekly. The deal is expected to close this Friday, and terms of the transaction are not being divulged. MORE: See SouthComm's statement on the transaction.

Continue ReadingIt’s Official: VVM is Selling Nashville Scene to SouthComm

The Creative Loafing CEO tells the Chicago Reader he is working on a bid for the company that consists of three components: Eason and his family; BIA Digital Partners, who CL owes $10 million; "and managers from all across the company." Eason says the idea is to couple the pay cuts taken by the 25-30 managers with an offer of equity in the company and a chance to join the bid. "If it loses, Eason says, they'll be paid their deferred salaries out of auction proceeds," the Reader reports. "Managers who remain on the sidelines will get paid back either way." The idea is one way Eason hopes to set his bid apart from the bid expected from Atalaya Capital Management, CL's main creditor. He hopes the show of unity will impress the bankruptcy judge, who will hold the auction for the six-paper chain on Aug. 25. "You've got managers clearly invested in the business, in continuing to run the business, and in looking to keeping it going," Eason says. MORE: In other CL news, a Chicago blogger gives his in-depth analysis of the company's value.

Continue ReadingBen Eason Offers CL Managers Equity If They Join Bid for the Company

This week's issue includes columns by former owner Jim Laris and current editor Kevin Uhrich, who has been with the paper since 1996. There's also a timeline and a series of short reminisces from a number of alumni, including former LA Reader owner James Vowell and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Steve Coll, the paper's first editor.

Continue ReadingPasadena Weekly Celebrates 25 Years

In today's bankruptcy hearing, the judge said she will wait until the Aug. 25 equity auction to define what the "highest and best" offer will be, a decision that CL CEO Ben Eason has said will be of utmost importance to the future of the six-paper company. "While today's hearing about the rules and procedures for the bidding was given a pretty high-drama buildup ... it didn't live up to its billing and was actually a complex, confusing, and undramatic court session," Creative Loafing (Tampa)'s Wayne Garcia writes. Following the hearing, Eason told Garcia he's considering stepping down temporarily as CEO to focus on putting together a new bid for the company, though he said he hasn't made a decision yet and has no timetable in mind.

Continue ReadingKey Decision in Creative Loafing Bankruptcy Case Will Come Aug. 25