But really, who owns “LA Weekly”?
It’s a valid question — who does own LA Weekly? In a short, cryptic article published on LA Weekly‘s site on Wednesday, November 29th, contributor Keith Plocek wrote,
"The new owners of LA Weekly don’t want you to know who they are. They are hiding from you. They’ve got big black bags with question marks covering their big bald heads."
The same day Plocek’s article went live, Voice Media Group wrapped up its sale of LA Weekly to Semanal Media. An October 18th Los Angeles Times article revealed that Semanal Media was created solely for the purpose of buying LA Weekly. This is according to Sara April at Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, the merger and acquisition firm that represented Voice Media during the sale. April told the LA Times that she could neither reveal who owns the new company nor where the owner(s) are based.
LA Weekly was founded in 1978 and still currently turns a profit. Its printed issues are available for free throughout Los Angeles and as of Tuesday, November 28th, 13 editorial staffers were on the payroll. But once the sale was completed Wednesday, Semanal Media terminated nine of those 13 employees, “including all the top editors and all but one staff writer,” the LA Times reported.
"These new owners just laid off nine hardworking journalists. Why? For sport? To start anew? To fulfill a blood vendetta that is centuries old? Maybe they have a good reason. Maybe they don’t. We don’t know. You don’t know. No one knows but them," Plocek wrote.
What comes next for LA Weekly is up in the air and the only two known connections to Semenal Media have declined to comment.
Most financial backers for the company have yet to even be identified.
The LA Weekly employees who were let go were never approached about training new staff or giving over information “that would ease a transition,” the LA Times reported. So as of right now, no one knows who owns LA Weekly — not even those who remain on the staff. Which means no one knows what the future holds for the alternative weekly news source.
We’re sending good vibes and endless appreciation to the staff and former staff of the LA Weekly we know and love, and hope more information comes in soon.