An offer has reportedly been made for the entire Creative Loafing Inc. chain of six alternative weeklies, which includes the Reader. Atlanta magazine blogger Steve Fennessy, who used to be a CLI writer and editor, writes that Brian Conley, a Knoxville real estate developer, has offered $13.3 million. That’s just a third of the total debt that drove Creative Loafing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last September, but it’s based on CLI financial figures from last fall so it could conceivably come down.
Fennessy writes that Conley, former owner of the alt weekly in Knoxville, says that Creative Loafing CEO Ben Eason is short-changing his papers: “[Conley] cited a discussion I had with Eason, in which the CLI chief referenced devoting 10 percent of revenue to editorial. ‘That’s out of line with industry standards,’ Conley said. ‘Traditionally it should be in the 15 percent range. You’re selling the product, the writers, and the quality journalism, and if you don’t spend the money on that, you’re going to atrophy. . . . The revenue follows the quality.'”
Does that mean that Conley’s promising to raise the editorial budget by 50 percent? I’ll tell you if that happens.