Dart Group acquires Compass Media : Cayman News Service


(CNS): After months of speculation, the acquisition of Compass Media by Dart has been confirmed by both parties. In a report in the islands’ oldest private news organisation on Wednesday, James Bergstrom, who purchased the media house just over four years ago, said he had sold it to Dart Media and Entertainment, which appears to be a newly formed company, subject to the necessary regulatory approval.

Bergstrom sold the commercial print business in January and restructured the company after he acquired it from David and Vicki Legge. According to the Cayman Compass, Compass Media’s flagship publication, this was to “survive the dramatic changes over the last few decades”, such as the shift from print to digital technology and the explosion in social media as the main source of news for many consumers.

However, the paper’s survival has remained in doubt, and Bergstrom has now agreed to sell the business to Dart. “Over the past five years, I have sought to continue the Cayman Compass’ long-standing role as an upholder of our well-run democracy and an important pillar of the community, while ensuring financial stability in an evolving media landscape,” Bergstrom said Wednesday.

“While I am grateful to have been a steward for the Compass and its long legacy of independent journalism, it’s an opportune time to hand the baton to an investor that shares that long-term vision for the broader Compass Media… Dart has displayed that long-term commitment to invest, even during challenging economic times, which makes them ideal partners to take Compass Media into the future,” he added.

On its website, Dart said it was committed to protecting the integrity of the company while providing financial stability.

“We are committed to building on the solid foundation that has been laid since the Compass was founded more than a half century ago,” said Dart CEO Mark VanDevelde. “We are steadfast in our determination to ensure the integrity of this important institution is protected. We will avail ourselves of relationships with industry leaders in local and international media, supporting the Compass as it continues to play its important role for decades to come.”

Dart, the Cayman Islands’ largest property and asset owner, as well as the country’s largest investor, has not said what plans it has for the news organisation, including the radio stations that come with the sale.

Dart has also not said whether or not there will be any redundancies. In 2020, as the COVID lockdown hit, the paper laid off over a dozen workers, citing its struggles to remain viable in a social media world, compounded by the pandemic.

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