Brad Bulkley
  • Brad Bulkley

Half a dozen suitors kicked the tires of the Reader, investment banker Brad Bulkley told me Thursday, but a couple presumably didn’t care if the tires were flat. “They would have closed it up just to eliminate competition,” said Bulkley, who from his Dallas office has been brokering the sale of this paper on behalf of its owner, Atalaya Capital Management. And for that reason Bulkley, who says he grew up in Chicago with the Reader, urged Atalaya not to take their offers.

Who might those competitors have been? The Tribune, with RedEye? Joe Mansueto, who controls Time Out Chicago? Bulkley wouldn’t say. I pointed out to him that Mansueto, aside from any individual bid he might have made for the Reader, is one of the investors who control Sun-Times Media and appear likely to close the deal on the Reader in about a week.

“Isn’t that interesting?” said Bulkley. But he put me at ease. Those investors are known collectively as Wrapports LLC, and are led by chairman Michael Ferro, a venture capitalist. “Mansueto, if you’re back to Wrapports, he’s an important investor, don’t get me wrong, but Ferro is driving that ship,” Bulkley said. “So he’s a more passive investor. He’s not running the show as he would at Time Out Chicago.”