The Petters Group — best known for owning Sun Country Airlines, Polaroid and Petters Warehouse Direct —has purchased Metropolitan Media Group (MMG), publishers of 14 suburban lifestyle magazines as well as Sun Country’s inflight magazine and MinnesotaBusiness.
A Petters representative told employees the new owner will kill eight of those titles and lay off many employees, according to a former employee with access to a handout given surviving staffers early this afternoon.
Petters and MMG officials were not available for comment, but the surviving titles are expected to be announced at a second afternoon meeting, the ex-employee says.
MMG publishes free surburban glossies — like a “local, local” version of Mpls.St.Paul without the editorial budget or in-depth features — for the creamiest zip codes in Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville, Chanhassen, South Minneapolis, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Lake Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, St. Croix Valley, St. Paul and Woodbury.
Other titles include Radio Magazine and Petters Group’s internal magazine.
The Capital City title, St. Paul Illustrated, will reportedly be shuttered. In general, the more suburban magazines are said to be profitable while those in or near the central cities were not. The Sun Country magazine, Escape, is likely to survive.
Petters is believed to be a significant MMG investor, and in recent months, founder and chairman Kenan Aksoz had sought additional funds to keep the magazines going. According to a current employee, MMG paychecks have recently bounced; the company blamed direct deposit errors and canceled that payment method. Also, May magazines were delayed several days, the employee says.
It’s unclear whether Aksoz or chief operating officer Tom Beauchamp will remain with the company. It will be renamed Community Media Group (CMG) and operate out of Petters’ Wayzata headquarters, the ex-employee says. The takeover allows all MMG employees to be laid off; CMG will rehire a subset.
However, MMG workers won’t get paid for the last two weeks, including those rehired by CMG, says the ex-employee and another knowledgable source. They said MMG chief financial officer Gary Pederson blamed the “credit market.”