Old Mill District developer Bill Smith and former BendBroadband CEO Amy Tykeson are among the lenders and investors who contributed to EO Media Group’s successful $3.65 million bid for The Bulletin and Redmond Spokesman.
EO Media Chief Operating Officer Heidi Wright disclosed the financial backers Tuesday. Smith, along with Louis Capozzi, will be an equity shareholder in Central Oregon Media Group, a newly formed company that will hold The Bulletin and Spokesman separately from EO Media’s other Oregon newspapers.
Tykeson, The Tykeson Family Foundation, The Bend Foundation and Jay Bowerman, who is a son of Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, made loans, Wright said. She declined to disclose the terms of the loans or the amount of individual investments.
“Bend is Bend because of a lot of things, one of which is the paper,” Smith said. “If it starts being run from people across the country and not local, it’ll suffer.”
Smith said he subscribes to the Capital-Press, which is EO Media Group’s publication that covers agriculture in the Northwest, and expects The Bulletin will be operated profitably.
“This is not a donation. I expect to make money.”
EO Media Group controls at least 67% of Central Oregon Media Group, Wright said. The stake is worth $2.45 million, based on the bid approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Trish Brown on Monday. Wright declined to say exactly how much the company raised from the Bend investors and lenders.
Wright has said the local partners will not have editorial control of the newspapers, but there is a chance that two of them could serve on the board of directors of Central Oregon Media Group.
The board will have four representatives from Salem-based EO Media Group and two members from the community, she said. Those two members are yet to be named.
Smith said he’s not interested in sitting on the board of directors.
The transaction is expected to close by Aug. 30, and the first board meeting is tentatively planned for September, Wright said.
The Bend financial supporters are not expecting to influence news coverage, Wright said. The company’s policy will be to disclose their connection to The Bulletin in news coverage of them.
“We want to have full transparency,” she said.
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