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Sep 7, 2010 4:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Dan's Papers sold

Sep 7, 2010 4:55 PM

Dan Rattiner, founder of Dan’s Papers and a well-known figure in the world of East End community newspapers, is back in the saddle as editor-in-chief and president of the publication, now celebrating its 50th year.

Brown Publishing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, sold the paper, along with the Montauk Pioneer, Dan’s Hamptons Style, and danshamptons.com on Friday to Mr. Rattiner who is backed by Isis Venture Partners of New York.

Brown Publishing, which owned several newspapers around the country, has been in bankruptcy since May. It bought Dan’s in 2007.

Dan’s Papers will be an operating subsidiary of Manhattan Media, which also publishes AVENUE magazine and a range of publications, websites, and offers marketing services and live events. Manhattan Media is a portfolio company of Isis Venture Partners.

The paper was sold to Mr. Rattiner and Isis Venture Partners for $1.75 million, Mr. Allon said. Brown Publishing paid $19.6 million for the paper, according to published reports.

Mr. Rattiner, under Brown’s ownership, was primarily the lead writer for the publication, and did not manage the staff. Bob Edelman, publisher of Dan’s, will remain as publisher. Both Mr. Edelman and Mr. Rattiner will report to Tom Allon, president and CEO of Manhattan Media. Susan Galardi, managing editor, will remain in her position, Mr. Allon said, and no staff changes are planned, except for Mr. Rattiner being back at the helm.

“He will have a different role under our leadership. He will be the editor-in-chief of this publication. If you don’t mind the sports metaphor, he was taken out of the game in the third quarter and will be put back in the fourth because he’s the captain and the star player. He’s very well rested and eager to score a lot of points,” he said.

Although the new management doesn’t foresee any big changes right away, Mr. Allon

hinted at the future when he said the paper was “perfectly positioned for digital and live events growth.”

Before Brown Publishing bought Dan’s, it was owned by News Communications Inc. which purchased it from Mr. Rattiner in 1988 for an undisclosed sum. Mr. Allon said he was employed by News Communications at the time it owned Dan’s Papers and he and Mr. Rattiner have been friends for years.

The quirky Dan’s Papers has been an integral part of the Hamptons since its founding in 1960. From its first 8-page edition published in Montauk, it has grown over the years and now claims to be the largest newspaper in the Hamptons. It is also distributed in Manhattan.

Mr. Rattiner is known for his often cynical take on local news and follows the comings and goings of local celebrities through his features and the South of the Highway column. But the magazine also publishes straightforward features, a page called “Who’s Here” devoted to local notables, an extensive local calendar, columns on shopping, furnishings, beauty and health and other topics.

In a prepared statement, Mr. Rattiner said, “With years under my belt leading Dan’s I was looking for a partner that understood community publishing and could help us leverage the goodwill and relationships that we have established in the Hamptons.” He could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Richard Burns, chairman of Manhattan Media and general partner of Isis Ventures, said that in spite of the financial difficulties that led Brown Publishing into bankruptcy, Dan’s is in fine shape. “We are happy to say that Dan’s Papers never stopped making money and we are acquiring a healthy, profitable media business upon which we expect to build.”

Manhattan Media has committed to work with the existing Dan’s Papers team to invest in the company’s publications and online offerings, and he also said there are plans to expand the paper’s live event division.

Brown’s Chapter 11 court filings from May say that Dan’s Papers benefited from the lucrative East End real estate market—advertisements from the industry made up most of the revenue for the company, the filings explained, but those conditions changed with 2008 recession. In a blog post on Dan’s website last spring (www.danshamptons.com), Mr. Rattiner wrote about the market woes: “You remember those times. Money flowed like water … Then everything went down the drain.”

But while things are now looking up at Dan’s, not so for Brown Publishing. A New York federal bankruptcy judge on Friday approved the sale of most of the assets of Brown Publishing to the company’s lenders for about $21.8 million, the Associated Press reported.

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This is not a news paper this is a fake news paper they just make things up and print them… as for the largest circulation in the Hampton’s, does it count if they just drop off bundles of papers that just get thrown in the dumpster each and every week?
By Bwana (9), Sag Harbor on Sep 8, 10 12:39 PM
3 members liked this comment
it's all about the adds and the old schmendrick in the panama hat
By uncleronk (136), southold on Sep 8, 10 2:09 PM
The problem is, the paper will be worth $0 should Dan ever stop writing. He's the whole shebang as far as the readers go. He needs to introduce a second main writer -- say someone who is a known entity on the East End, also prolific, and maybe 20 years younger. Someone to take the baton in the next couple of years. Pay him $75,000 and a 5% share. Just an idea. I'm not applying.
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Sep 8, 10 4:09 PM
As someone who spends time looking for a Dan's Paper in Sag Harbor I can attest to the fact that it's not in the dumpster. On a few holidays the Sag Harbor Village maintenance crews grabbed ALL the bundles of magazines on the sidewalks and threw them out - since this is not legal they were stopped. Still can't find a Dan's Papers - have to go into Corcoran and grab one from their stack - like it or don't all but Dan's Papers flies off the stands - I see people reading it every where I go - until ...more
By ewd (4), Bridgehampton on Sep 8, 10 9:58 PM
I will take the $75k and 5%. Contact me, Dan.
By Naz (4), Sag Harbor on Sep 9, 10 8:46 AM
Nice avatar. I needed a good laugh...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 9, 10 11:34 PM
Imagine my chagrin when I discovered it would STILL be published...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 9, 10 11:45 PM
This is really great news for Dan's folks and especially their advertisers. Now Dan's has finally tied in the Manhattan connection with the Hamptons. I read both Dan's and the Press every week but for two different reasons. The press gives me the local news but Dan's takes that news and tells me what really happened - it makes me laugh. I advertise however in just Dan's. Love Dan or hate Dan, the publication works for me and this past year Dan's looked great. It has always been a winner for me.
By ChefRobert' (3), southampton on Sep 10, 10 5:16 AM
Congratulations to Dan Rattiner. It's a pleasure to learn a media company besides News Corp. continues to make money.
By hellolotte (5), Sag Harbor on Sep 10, 10 1:28 PM
Who cares? What a waste of paper. I like 27 East.
By rrc1049 (63), Bridgehampton on Sep 11, 10 9:54 AM

It is ironic that all of the advertisers in Dan's Papers are rated "THE BEST OF THE BEST" (by Dan's papers ---of course)
By pride of bonac (42), easthampton on Sep 11, 10 1:22 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By pride of bonac (42), easthampton on Sep 11, 10 1:22 PM
An ad rag and social guide for cidiots with ad rates based on bogus circulation numbers as most of the papers are delivered directly to the dump.

Place an ad in a "real" local paper and some from Dan's will call and try to sell you an ad.

Under Dan's mamagement I'll bet the people working there will be leveraged into pay cuts instead of given a living wage.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 12, 10 12:57 PM
Exactly what constitutes a "livable wage" out here anymore?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 13, 10 1:05 AM
Not what people who work for Dan get paid. He runs that place like a personal gold mine with slave labor.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 13, 10 12:39 PM
Sounds like "big box" retail methodology...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 15, 10 6:29 PM