Chicago Reader publisher Alison Draper

  • Chicago Reader publisher Alison Draper

Yes, it’s true that the Reader is for sale—as first Crain’s Chicago Business and now the Tribune have reported. It has always been for sale—its owner, Atalaya Capital Management, a New York-based hedge fund, acquires properties to sell them. And Bulkley Capital of Dallas has managed the unloading process for Atalaya ever since Atalaya took over the Reader in 2009. But interest in selling—and buying—the Reader has heated up in recent weeks, and doing a deal is no longer on Bulkley’s shoulders alone. The Reader‘s publisher, Alison Draper, tells me she decided not to sit back and watch deal makers in distant states decide this newspaper’s future.

With Atalaya’s permission, Draper says, she recently began to look for a buyer herself. “Long-term vision is essential,” she says. And that, in her view, requires a permanent owner who meets four criteria.