City Paper Is Bought For $4m

Posted: April 18, 1996

The 15-year-old City Paper, an irreverent weekly that distributes 95,000 free copies, has been sold to Montgomery Newspapers Inc., for about $4 million.

Bruce Schimmel, who founded the City Paper with a $15,000 stake in 1981, will leave his job as editor and publisher and join Montgomery Newspapers as a consultant, said Arthur W. Howe, Montgomery Newspapers' president and publisher.

``This newspaper made me a millionaire before I sold it,'' said Schimmel, 43. ``Success is sweet, but it really gets kind of boring.''

Both men said they envisioned no changes at the City Paper. Schimmel said he would continue to write his weekly column under the title of founder and editor emeritus, but editorial control will be in the hands of Managing Editor David Warner and News Editor Howard Altman.

Paul Curci, now associate publisher and a 15 percent shareholder in the City Paper, will become the publisher, said Schimmel.

Howe said the City Paper, with annual gross revenue of about $3 million, was a ``wonderful'' fit with Fort Washington-based Montgomery Newspapers. Montgomery Newspapers publishes 15 suburban papers, magazines in Bucks and Chester counties, and a variety of monthly publications.

Montgomery Newspapers will use its color-capable equipment to print the City Paper, which heretofore had to pay a job printer, said Howe. Also, Montgomery Newspapers will offer advertisers combination rates to advertise in both the City Paper and the suburban papers.

Howe, who won a Pulitzer Prize as an Inquirer reporter, and his partners, Milton Rock and son Robert Rock, have embarked on an aggressive expansion campaign. Already the suburban area's largest newspaper chain, Montgomery Newspapers has challenged the venerable Main Line Times by starting up Main Line Life a year ago.

City paper's chief opposition is Philadelphia Weekly, founded in 1971 under the name Welcomat, which gives away 112,000 papers.

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