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updated: 10/8/2012 10:42 AM

The Tampa Tribune sold to private equity firm

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Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- A private equity investment group has bought The Tampa Tribune newspaper from Media General Inc. for $9.5 million, the newspaper reported Monday.

The Tribune's longtime corporate owner, Virginia-based Media General Inc., is transferring ownership of the Tribune, its affiliated newspapers and TBO.com to the Los Angeles-based Revolution Capital Group. The investment group has formed a locally owned company, The Tampa Media Group, to run the paper.

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"It's a bittersweet day for Media General to complete the sale of its last remaining newspaper group," Marshall N. Morton, Media General's president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. "We will miss our colleagues at The Tribune and its associated print and digital platforms, and we wish them the very best."

Media General owned The Tampa Tribune for 46 years.

According to the announcement, Media General will retain the NBC affiliate, WFLA, News Channel 8. However, the newspaper and the television operations will continue their news partnership.

Revolution Capital founder and managing partner Robert Loring was quoted in the Tribune as saying some investment funds might look at buying a newspaper as "contrarian," but the Tribune "checked many of the boxes we were looking for in terms of our criteria."

The Tampa Media Group will have 618 employees and will continue to operate the Tribune's affiliated publications: Hernando Today, Highlands Today, Suncoast News, Sunbelt Newspapers and the Spanish-language publication Centro.

The Tampa Tribune has a daily circulation of 144,510 and a Sunday circulation of 262,369. The paper's online presence, TBO.com, attracts more than 14 million page views a month, the newspaper wrote.

The new company did not address whether there will be layoffs at the paper or any other changes.

"I wouldn't want to disclose our game plan," said Cyrus Nikou, the Revolution Capital Group's founding partner, said in a Tribune news story about the sale. "Except to say that we are looking at the Tribune as a long-term investment and multimedia play in the future."

Revolution Capital has acquired businesses in several different sectors, including media and publishing, telecommunications, manufacturing and software.

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