Todd Vogt, the controversial president of the San Francisco Print Media Company, informed his staff that he was likely to sell his shares of the company to his financial partners, Oahu Press, Inc., eliminating his post as the head of three of the Bay Area's newspapers: the Examiner, the Weekly, and the Bay Guardian, according to multiple people who attended the meeting and published reports. In the meeting, Vogt and his financial partners presented the moves as voluntary, but speculation of a power play soon followed the announcement.
As has been reported, Vogt still has one way to keep his position: to bring in outside partners to buy out Oahu Press. At the meeting, Vogt said that he would likely decided on either on course of action by May 30.
The prospect of a Vogt departure could raise the possibility of mergers and layoffs within the three media properties, although the president and publisher of Oahu Press, who also attended the meeting, said that was not his company's intention—but he refused to rule out the possibility.
In a 2013 profile of Vogt, we wrote, "If it seems unclear why Vogt should be an enthusiastic buyer of newspapers at a time when the industry is hemorrhaging red ink, the answer may lie in the business model he has cultivated. The modus operandi of the community-newspaper operation he ran in Canada was to buy newspapers on the cheap, slash and burn staff, and make money by running the most bare-bones operation possible." That prediction has proved to be somewhat false with respect to Vogt: The three papers have remained independent entities at a time when many observers expected consolidation.
However, should Vogt fail to find a financial partner to keep himself in command, the possibility of contraction becomes more likely.
Vogt failed to respond to multiple requests for comment throughout the day yesterday. We will update if we hear back from him.