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LA Weekly Parent Company Village Voice Media On the Hook for $21 Million

Must not have been a very happy Thanksgiving for LA Weekly and Village Voice Media honcho Mike Lacey. For those who didn’t hear the news, the great California newspaper battle is officially over. The California Supreme Court rejected VVM-owned SF Weekly’s appeal in its predatory pricing case with rival San Francisco Bay Guardian. VVM now has to fork over $21 million to the Bay Guardian–money it doesn’t have.

The SF Appeal has a nice link roundup of all the developments you need to catch up.

So what happens now? Will the SF Weekly shut down?

“We have no intention of leaving San Francisco,” insists VVM number 3 Andy Van De Voorde. “We choose instead to stay, and to continue competing.” Can’t see the SF Weekly continuing its print operations. VVM has heavily invested online as of late, so we’re guessing–unless Van De Voorde is engaging in shallow posturing, not unprecedented for VVM upper management–SF Weekly will go online only.

Perhaps even more interesting will be the fate of the other papers in the chain. Will VVM be forced to peel off a paper or two to cover the damages? Will they bleed the LA Weekly even more for the cash cow it is? (Or used to be anyway) The collections process in this case may turn out to be even more interesting than the case itself.
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