[UPDATED WITH CEO’S MEMO] Digital First Media considers selling its newspapers

The publisher of the Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News, St. Paul Pioneer Press and other newspapers says it’s hired UBS Securities to “evaluate and consider strategic alternatives,” including sellingdecide all of Digital First Media, just some of its newspapers or doing nothing.

In a statement the company said there are no assurances that the process will result in a transaction or transactions or on the timing of any decisions. The company also said that it will not disclose developments in the process until the board decides how it will proceed.

Digital First is controlled by hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

Earlier this week, the Newspaper Guild asked “local, community-minded” types to consider buying the Digital First newspaper in their area.

* Digital First Media will consider sale (siliconvalley.com)

Update: Paton’s memo to employees is after the jump.

Digital First Media CEO’s memo to employees:

Date: Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Subject: On Behalf of John Paton


This morning we are announcing that our company, Digital First Media, is working with the investment bank UBS to review the strategic alternatives for our business.

Strategic alternatives – what does that mean exactly?

John Paton

John Paton

Well, it could mean we decide to sell the company. Or sell parts of it. Or expand it. Or stay the course.

DFM is a company with a successful strategy that drives results. And that means we now have options – options that we should now review to determine what is best for our future.

After a rocky five years, the newspaper industry is firmly back on its feet again.

Many of the largest companies in the media business have spun off their publishing assets and they have been well received by the public markets with healthy balance sheets and plans to drive their digital future and the capacity to grow.

Other than the usual die-hard skeptics, it is now a given that newspapers, as multi-platform news organizations, will thrive in the future as the best and biggest providers of local news and advertising in their markets.

But scale is the key to that future. Scale to build the products our customers want. The products we will need in the future for news or sales will look nothing like they do now. Any newspaper company’s future will rely upon its ability to build those products fast and as cost-effectively as possible.

So, we are now reviewing all of those options – those strategic alternatives – that best position our company for the future.

I am not sure of the outcome of that review or how long it will take.

But I do know this: As employees, the best thing we can do while this review is underway is to keep doing what we have been doing best these past years – producing unsurpassed local journalism; serving our customers’ needs and continuing to boldly experiment with our digital future.

The official press release is attached.

I will do my best to keep you informed as this review progresses.

Until next time,