Village Voice Group to be sold, original owners keep Backpage
The owners of Village Voice Media (and the original founders of one of that company’s 13 alt-weekly newspapers) have decided to sell all their publications in order to distance the news from their controversial adult services website. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin will transfer their nationwide network of alternative papers to a new company and sell control to several of those papers’ current publishers and editors. No terms were disclosed. The roster of publications includes The Village Voice in New York; SF Weekly and LA Weekly in California; Denver’s Westword; and the Phoenix New Times, among others. Lacey and Larkin founded the New Times when they were students at Arizona State University in 1970, before slowly acquiring the other properties in the ’80s and ’90s.
However, the pair will retain ownership of Backpage.com, a classified ads website that has faced several lawsuits and criminal complaints due to its adult-services advertising. -[The Atlantic Wire]
The newly formed Voice Media Group, a holding company out of Denver, will take control of the weeklies. Backpage has profited heavily from the sale of adult ads, and has come under heavy fire with allegations of prostitution disguised as “adult services.”