Paul Fanlund: 'This made good sense for us, first and foremost, as an investment.'
The Capital Times Co. today announced its acquisition of WisPolitics.com, the 10-year-old subscription-based website devoted to covering state politics and government. The press release indicates Jeff Mayers will remain as president of WisPolitics, which will retain both its name and its offices on the Capitol Square. J.R. Ross will also stay on as editor, according to the release.
Today's announcement adds that WisPolitics will operate "as a wholly owned subsidiary, with no integration of staff or connection to the editorial philosophy of The Capital Times." Established in June 2000, WisPolitics.com also encompasses WisBusiness.com and WisOpinion.com.
"We hope The Cap Times can gain from what WisPolitics has learned about online business models," says Paul Fanlund, editor of The Capital Times, in today's press release.
Fanlund describes the acquisition of the WisPolitics as a good fit for The Capital Times Co., whose existing investment portfolio comprises traditional vehicles like stocks and bonds. "We're looking to be able to take it to the next level," says Fanlund, and "continue to find ways to be relevant and to be an important player in contemporary media." The acquisition of WisPolitics, he adds, does not signal a desire or precedent for additional acquisitions.
Fanlund won't discuss the terms of the deal, beyond saying that The Capital Times Co. bought out WisPolitics.com's existing partners. "We're the owners now," he says. Fanlund anticipates no change in dynamics within WisPolitics. "Jeff remains as president," he explains, "as the individual who runs WisPolitics and drives it."
Fanlund also disavows any intent to change the content of WisPolitics, though "the WisPolitics subscriber could see improvements from what we might be able to bring." Even so, he adds, the aim of the deal is to "help WisPolitics do what it already does better, and not to change it."
"This made good sense for us, first and foremost, as an investment," Fanlund says of the deal, which has been in the works for about a year. "It was still cold," he remembers, when he learned early last year that WisPolitics might be available.
"It's exciting to be associated with a media model of the future," says Fanlund, though he admits "I don't have a clue" how that model might evolve. "I don't understand how they do what they do," Fanlund says, but the acquisition of WisPolitics "allows us to have conversations around strategic opportunities moving forward."