Pay cuts, possible sale at Washington City Paper

Employees at Washington City Paper are taking pay cuts as its hedge fund owner tries to sell a sister publication in Chicago, and now its D.C. publication and another in Atlanta as well.

Employees at the Chicago Reader and at Creative Loafing Atlanta, also owned by New York-based Atalaya Capital Management, will also see pay cuts. The owner plans job cuts at those publications, though Washington City Paper will escape layoffs.

The 5 percent pay cuts take effect Friday, Washington City Paper publisher Amy Austin told employees Wednesday.

Atalaya bought Creative Loafing, the publisher of all three papers, out of bankruptcy in 2009.

In a corporate memo to employees posted by Washington City Paper, executives Alison Draper and Tammy Bailey also indicated Atalaya was looking to sell all three papers now, not just the Chicago Reader.

“The properties have had an increased number of inquiries from potential suitors [and] our owners have expressed interest in exploring these opportunities,” the memo said. “We believe this provides an opportunity for our properties to align with a new owner who understands the legacy of our brands.”

While there were no layoffs announced at Washington City Paper, some employees were cut back to part time, City Paper said.

“The news should have come as no surprise: Upon bringing the papers out of bankruptcy in 2009, the fund made clear that it was not in the business of running media organizations over the long term,” City Paper said.

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