Impremedia, owner of some of the largest Spanish-language dailies in the United States, has been sold to a private equity-backed start-up looking to cash in on growing demand from multicultural audiences.
Impremedia, which runs publications founded in the early 20th century such as El Diario in New York and La Opinion in Los Angeles, is being acquired by My Code, an advertising network in Santa Monica, California, targeting marketers seeking Hispanics, Blacks, Asians. American and Pacific Island consumers, executives from both companies said.
Impremedia and My Code declined to provide a price for the deal. A person familiar with the sale said My Code had paid more than $10 million.
The deal marks another chapter in the turbulent history of Spanish-language newspapers in the United States, many of which have closed in recent decades as print revenues faded and digital upstarts capitalized on demand for Hispanic audiences by advertisers.
Many major US cities once had a daily newspaper geared toward Spanish-speaking readers, said Ken Doctor, a longtime media analyst and CEO of Lookout Local, a media startup in Santa Cruz, California. Some English-language newspaper publishers, including the former owners of The Chicago Tribune, started Spanish-language editions to reach new audiences and increase advertising revenue.
But the consolidation and cost-cutting that have thinned the ranks of English-language metropolitan dailies have also depleted Spanish-language publications, Doctor said.
“Just as major metropolitan dailies have struggled with what it means to be a digital publication, I think that’s largely true of the Hispanic press,” said Mr. Doctor.
Parker Morse, the founder and CEO of My Code, said in an interview that his goal was to extend the life of Impremedia’s print business while growing its digital revenue, which has been a bright spot for the company. He said the deal would help the company reach Hispanic Americans who “live between two worlds,” browsing sites like El Diario along with ESPN, TMZ and CNN.
“I think about two-thirds of Hispanic consumers are bilingual and consume content in both English and Spanish,” said Mr. Morse. “And while it may not be 100 percent of that demographic, it’s a big part of it.”
Impremedia was founded in 2003 by John Paton, an entrepreneur who became CEO of Digital First Media, the newspaper chain controlled by hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Paton, who is now chairman of The Independent, a London news publisher, bought El Diario and other titles with his partners to build a Hispanic news conglomerate. It was acquired by a subsidiary of the Argentine newspaper La Nación in 2012.
Iván Adaime, CEO of Impremedia, said in an interview that the company’s titles were a vital resource for readers who did not speak English or whose issues were ignored by the English-language press. Adaime, an immigrant from Argentina, said he would stay after the deal was done.
“I am very committed to that mission,” Mr. Adaime said. “It’s a mission that was there before I was born, but it’s a mission that resonates very well with me.”