TimesLedger Newspapers group sold to former president and wife

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News executives Les Goodstein and his wife Jennifer are buying the Community Newspaper Group, the umbrella company that publishes The TimesLedger Newspapers, the Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn Courier Life, the Bronx Times, Caribbean Life and several other weekly papers and specialty magazines from News Corp.

The husband-and-wife team made the announcement to the assembled staff at the Brooklyn headquarters of CNG Monday morning.

Les Goodstein formed the Community Newspaper Group as an executive for the international media conglomerate News Corp., overseeing it as president until his retirement in July 2013.

“When I left I said, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘The Terminator,’ ‘I’ll be back,” Goodstein said. “It is incredibly gratifying to come back and run the operation I helped put together for News Corp.”

The Goodsteins own NYC CommunityMedia Group. The Manhattan-based company is run by Jennifer Goodstein and produces free neighborhood weeklies, including The Villager, Downtown Express and Gay City News.

The purchase of the 11 community newspapers will be finalized and made official July 1, Les Goodstein said.

Among the most immediate changes in store is the renaming of the company from Community Newspaper Group to Community News Group.

The new company will partner with News Corporation to continue publishing the outer-borough Weekly inserts that appear in the Sunday New York Post, Goodstein said. News Corp. sold the local papers for the same reason it sold a chain of New England papers last summer: to focus on global and online efforts, an executive said in a statement.

“This sale, like our divestiture of the Dow Jones Local Media Group, helps us reshape the News Corp. portfolio as we achieve greater globalization and digitization of our businesses with an eye towards long-term growth,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive at the media giant. “We’re confident that these newspapers and magazines will prosper under the leadership of Les and Jennifer Goodstein.”

The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Before joining News Corporation in 2006, Les Goodstein had a 28-year-career with the Daily News where he worked his way up to president and chief operating officer. At the meeting in Brooklyn, he said CNG’s newspaper and website model is a winning one.

“We now have Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, and we are in a good position to grow,” Goodstein said.

Also in store is a move by the Community Media Group’s Manhattan staff to the Community News Group’s Downtown Brooklyn office in MetroTech Center. The Manhattan team worked out of the Brooklyn office for several months following Hurricane Sandy and Jennifer Goodstein said it was tough to convince them to leave.

“Some of the group had a hard time going back to the current office,” Goodstein said, “so I know they’ll enjoy being back.”

Les Goodstein closed by saying that the purchase was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

“My favorite movie is ‘Citizen Kane,’ ” he said. “And I always loved the part where he buys a newspaper --- aside from the whole personality part.”

Posted 1:47 pm, June 23, 2014
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