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The Free Lance-Star building in Fredericksburg

Sandton Capital Top Bidder for Free Lance-Star

by | Dec 13, 2014 | Business

By Susan Larson

Sandton Capital Partners  submitted a bid of $30.2 million and was announced today as the winning bidder for Free Lance-Star Publishing Company assets.

“Details of the purchase agreement were still being worked out, and the judge has yet to approve it,” reported the Free Lance-Star Thursday afternoon. “The parties indicated in court that they think they will be able to finalize the agreement.”

Sandton, a New York based investment firm, bought the Free Lance-Star Company’s $38 million outstanding loan balance from BB&T last summer.  The primary creditor wanted to bid the entire $38 million.  Attorneys for the Free Lance-Star argued that would deter others from bidding.

Judge Huennekens ruled March 25 that Sandton Capital Partners could credit bid on all Free Lance-Star assets, except for those on which the creditor did not have a direct lien.  The excepted assets included the publishing company’s FCC radio licenses, radio towers, vehicles, life insurance policies and bank accounts, according to All Access Music Group.

Sandton was allowed to credit bid on the newspaper, websites, radio station facilities, printing plant and real estate holdings.

New Media Investment Group was reported as the backup bid for all the assets.

Update Friday, May 23, 2014

Nine companies participated in the auction for Free Lance-Star Publishing Company (FLS) assets, according to FLS attorney Lynn Tavenner.

They were DSP Acquisitions LLC (Sandton), New Media Investment Group Inc., Halifax Media Holdings LLC, Ogden Newspaper of Virginia LLC, BH Media Group Holdings Inc. (Berkshire Hathaway), Monticello Media, Unison Site Management LLC, L&L Broadcasting and Colgate Enterprises LLC.

“Colgate and Berkshire submitted the highest separate bids for the FLS’ radio and newspaper assets, respectively, but New Media and Sandton both put in bids for all the assets that exceeded the sum of the parts,” the Free Lance-Star reported.

The Free Lance-Star publishing company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan 23.  In addition to the daily newspaper, the company’s assets include Fredericksburg.com, Freelancestar.com, WFLS, WVBX (formerly WYSK), WWUZ and WNTX. It also owns real estate and other digital operations, the newspaper said.

Related Stories:
Sandton May Credit Bid on Free Lance-Star Assets, Judge Rules
Free Lance-Star Publishing Company Advances Toward Sale of Assets
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