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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.