BH Media Group Purchases The Free Lance-Star

by | May 2, 2016 | News

By Susan Larson. File photo copyright Fredericksburg.Today

BH Media Group announced December 31, 2015, that it has purchased The Free Lance-Star, its website Fredericksburg.com and its commercial printing operations for an undisclosed amount of money from Sandton Capital Partners.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Co. owns 32 other news publications in Virginia, according to the company’s website. These include The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, The Culpeper Star-Exponent, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and the Orange County Review.

In total, BH Media Group operates 71 newspapers and other titles in 10 states — Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Sandton, a New York based company, and DPS, its limited partnership in the Cayman Islands, purchased The Free Lance-Star Company’s $38 million BB&T loan balance in the summer of 2013, which lead to the publishing company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Jan 23, 2014. Nine companies participated in the May 2014 auction for its assets, according to FLS attorney Lynn Tavenner. Sandton submitted the winning bid of $30.2 million.

The sale of the Free Lance-Star ended the Rowe family’s 130-year tenure as owners of the media company.

Sandton Capital Partners has been selling the assets since. Wack General Contractor purchased the former executive building property at 607 William St. in March 2015. The Free Lance-Star headquarters building at 616 and 620 Amelia St. sold in November. Local developer William J. Vakos, Jr., of Spotsylvania County-based W.J. Vakos & Co., paid $5,575,000.

Alpha Media purchased the Free Lance-Star’s four-station radio cluster in May 2014.The stations are “New Country 93.3” WFLS-FM, rhythmic CHR “99.3 The Vibe” WVBX, classic rock “96.9 The Rock” WWUZ and talk/sports WNTX (1350). Sandton Capital Partners announced in December 2014 it would sell the four Fredericksburg stations to comply with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling.

Related Stories
Free Lance-Star Building Sold to Local Developer November 30, 2015

Former Free Lance-Star Executive Building Property Sold March 16, 2015

Free Lance-Star Radio Cluster Sold January 23, 2015

WFLS and Sister Stations to Be Sold December 3, 2014

FCC Rules Free Lance-Star, Radio Stations Split December 2, 2014

Sandton Closes Deal, Names Interim FLS Publisher June 20, 2014

Sandton Capital Top Bidder for Free Lance-Star May 22, 2014

Sandton May Credit Bid on Free Lance-Star Assets, Judge Rules March 26, 2014

Free Lance-Star Publishing Company Advances Toward Sale of Assets February 28, 2014

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