Las Vegas Sun shifts ownership, plans to keep publishing

The Las Vegas Sun has broken off talks to end its longstanding joint operating agreement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Sun reported on its website late Tuesday.

The Sun also said its Publisher, Brian Greenspun, has become sole owner of the newspaper’s parent company, Greenspun Media Group. The company, founded by Hank and Barbara Greenspun in 1950, was owned by Greenspun and his three siblings — brother Danny Greenspun and sisters Susan Greenspun Fine and Janie Greenspun Gale.

“Previously, GMG had been co-owned by the four siblings, as had other business holdings including the travel/tourism website, vegas.com, Niche Media and the real estate development company, American Nevada, the developer of Green Valley,” the Sun said.

The article did not say what would happen to the family’s non-media business interests, which include extensive real estate holdings. It did say Brian Greenspun will continue to operate Las Vegas Magazine, the recently launched weekly called The Sunday, the Las Vegas Weekly and associated websites.

In an interview posted on The Sun’s website, Greenspun promised “bold new plans for high impact and enterprise reporting” and “new approaches to other publications,” but offered no specifics.

Niche Media, the family’s national chain of luxury magazines will be “in the hands of” Janie Greenspun Gale and her husband, Jeff Gale, the article said. Terms of that arrangement were not explained.

Last year the siblings, over Brian Greenspun’s objections, signed a letter of intent to end the 25-year-old agreement governing the operation of Las Vegas’ two daily newspapers.

The deal prompted Brian Greenspun to sue the Review-Journal’s parent company, claiming it had colluded with his siblings to close the Sun.

According to the letter of intent, the majority of the Greenspuns agreed to end the joint operating agreement that took effect in 1989 and was amended in 2005. The four Greenspun siblings were each to receive $70,000 and the family would retain ownership of the Sun’s website. In addition, the Greenspuns would own the web domain name lasvegas.com, which they currently lease from Stephens Media, the parent company of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, for $1 million to $2.5 million annually. That URL is used by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Stephens Media would no longer pay the Greenspuns a share of annual profits from the joint operating agreement and would cease printing and delivering the Sun as a six- to 10-page daily insert in the Review-Journal.

Although the family would have maintained control of LasVegasSun.com, the termination of the join operating agreement, which expires in 2040, could have ended the print edition of the of the Las Vegas Sun.

“The Sun will continue to serve a traditional newspaper audience across the valley,” Greenspun said in the Sun article.

In announcing the change in ownership of Greenspun Media Group, Brian Greenspun said he would withdraw the federal court lawsuit filed last year against Stephens Media, but online court records indicated Tuesday that the case remains open. There has been no movement in the lawsuit since it was filed.

Stephens Media officials declined comment.

Since launching the newspaper 64 years ago, the Greenspuns have explored various business ventures.

As recently as last month, the Clark County Commission approved an application from Brian Greenspun to operate a medical marijuana facility.

The family’s American Nevada Co., a real estate development firm that helped develop the 8,400-acre Green Valley in Henderson, Southern Nevada’s first master-planned community.

They also partnered with Stations Casinos in gaming projects, including the ownership of Green Valley Ranch Resort and Aliante Station, which fell apart through Station Casinos’ 2011 bankruptcy reorganization.

The Las Vegas Sun was a part owner in Las Vegas 1, a failed cable television channel, producing a short-lived nightly television show on the Las Vegas entertainment scene.

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker.

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