SF Examiner and SF Weekly sold to local owners

In a major expansion of its regional publishing business, Clint Reilly Communications — publisher of the Nob Hill Gazette and...

In a major expansion of its regional publishing business, Clint Reilly Communications — publisher of the Nob Hill Gazette and Gentry Magazine — today announced the acquisition of the San Francisco Examiner’s parent company, the San Francisco Media Co., and its affiliated publications including SF Weekly.

The sale means that San Francisco Media Co., currently a part of the Canadian media conglomerate Black Press LTD, will once again be locally owned and operated as of Jan. 1.

San Francisco’s only alternative weekly and the 155-year-old Examiner join the Reilly family portfolio after nine years under the ownership of Black Press, publisher of more than 150 titles across the western United States and Canada. The sale includes SF Media Co.’s intellectual property, as well as its commercial printing facility on Evans Avenue. Terms were not disclosed.

“We have provided stewardship of one of the iconic newspaper brands in the U.S. for the past nine years and are extremely proud of the quality of journalism and the role the newspaper plays in the community,” said Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Press. “However, the Examiner has become increasingly difficult for our executive team to manage as many of the team live in either Canada or Hawaii and have been unable to travel to San Francisco. We are delighted to return it to local ownership.”

Clint Reilly, the chairman and president of Clint Reilly Communications, emphasized his excitement at the opportunity to take the reins of San Francisco Media Co. and its beloved brands.

“My father grew up in the Mission District selling newspapers on the corner in the 1930s and newspapers have always been an integral part of my life,” Reilly said. “I learned during my 25 years as a political consultant how important strong journalism is to a functioning democracy, and it has never been more critical than it is today. The pandemic has brought an avalanche of challenges to the region, and we look forward to The San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly being positive forces in the community as we rebuild.”

San Francisco Media Co. Publisher Jay Curran said the sale was good news for the company.

“Being locally owned is an advantage to our company as it opens doors to more advertising opportunities, community engagement with our newspapers and synergies with other local publications,” Curran said.

Long the flagship media property of the legendary William Randolph Hearst and the Hearst Corporation, the Examiner was sold to Florence Fang and her sons Ted, James and Douglas in 2000 after Reilly filed a landmark federal antitrust lawsuit to keep the paper alive. It was sold to Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz in 2004, who harbored ambitions to nationalize the Examiner brand. The title traded hands once again in 2011, this time to the San Francisco Media Company, made up of a consortium of newspaper executives headlined by Canadian newspaper mogul David Holmes Black of the Black Press. It was later joined by SF Weekly and the SF Bay Guardian under the SF Media Co. umbrella.

Reilly’s acquisition of the Examiner comes less than four months after he added Gentry Magazine to his company’s portfolio, alongside the 43-year-old Nob Hill Gazette, which he has owned since 2016.

Reilly’s company also owns properties including the landmark Merchants Exchange Building, 235 Pine St. office building, the Little Fox Building in Jackson Square, 340 Pine St. and 360 Pine St. office buildings, the Julia Morgan Ballroom, the Merchants Exchange Club and Credo Restaurant.

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