Investor Group led by Spire Capital Partners and Wachovia Capital Partners to Acquire American Community Newspapers

Three Clusters in Affluent Markets Throughout the Midwestern

Corridor Include 67 Community Newspapers and Three Specialty

Publications

 

12/9/2004

New York, NY — An investor group consisting of Spire Capital

Partners and Wachovia Capital Partners announced today that it has

acquired American Community Newspapers, LLC (“ACN” or the “Company”),

one of the country’s largest publishers of community newspapers, for

$85MM.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, ACN operates in three highly attractive

major U.S. markets: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Dallas/Fort Worth and Kansas

City. ACN’s award winning group of publications reaches approximately

900,000 households in the suburban communities surrounding these major

cities and enjoys market-leading circulation penetration in all of its

markets. The Company is focused on providing high quality, local

editorial content to its readers and targeted advertising packages to

local and national advertisers. During the last 12 months, ACN’s

publications have won over 30 industry awards for excellence in

editorial content and design from major industry organizations.

Announcing the transaction, Gene Carr, President and Chief Executive

Officer of ACN, stated, “We are privileged to be able to continue our

outstanding work of journalism and the commitment that we have in

serving the needs of readers, advertisers, and other community

constituents. With Spire Capital Partners and Wachovia

Capital Partners as our equity sponsors, we are positioned and committed

to grow our existing newspaper groups in our current markets, and

aggressively pursue the acquisition of additional suburban newspaper

groups in the top fifty markets.” A syndicate of senior lenders

consisting of Harris Nesbitt, Merrill Lynch Capital, and GE Commercial

Finance has provided ACN with a $60 million senior secured credit

facility to complete the acquisition and provide funding for future

growth initiatives.

“We are extremely pleased to be supporting Gene Carr and Dan Wilson

and the ACN management team as they continue to build a strong platform

of community newspaper assets”, stated Chris Paldino of Spire Capital Partners.

Spire Capital Partners, L.P. is a $260 million

private equity fund that invests in the media, communications and

business services industries. Wachovia Capital Partners is the principal

investing affiliate of Wachovia Corporation. Wachovia Capital Partners

has invested more than $2.5 billion since 1998. J.P. Morgan advised

American Community Newspapers on its sale.

ACN is being sold by a consortium of three private equity investors

including Weiss, Peck & Greer, AIG Horizon Partners Fund L.P., and

Waller-Sutton Media Partners. The Weiss, Peck & Greer investment is

currently managed by Brynwood Partners.