The Justice Department has closed its investigation of the proposed combination of New Times and Village Voice Media, meaning the two alt-weekly chains can consummate (aw, yeah!) the deal at their discretion. CEO David Schneiderman says in an e-mail to staff, “We expect to close in about a month or so. The work on integrating the two companies will accelerate, but we will still be functioning as separate entities until the closing.”
The news was posted on the website of the Federal Trade Commission, in its daily rundown of companies that have applied for “early terminations” of the merger investigations that are standard under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. When the deal was first announced in late October–on the eve of the Voice‘s 50th anniversary–VVM corporate leadership expected they’d have to wait until the end of the year for the DOJ to end its probe, and anticipated a “second request” from the government for information. It never came.
So, it’ll be a holiday wedding between the six Voice papers and the 11 New Times weeklies. Will that mean mistletoe-and-holly table decorations? Fur-fringed bridesmaids’ dresses? Pink slips? We’ll see. Advent’s about waiting.