DC media group buys NY publication City & State, plans expansion

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A DC-based news agency for politicians and bureaucrats has acquired City & State, a media business covering New York state and local politics for elected officials and government workers.

Terms of the acquisition by Government Executive Media Group were not disclosed. But the company behind publications like Nextgov and DefenseOne targeted at federal government workers plans to expand City & State, which targets state legislators, county executives and municipalities, to other markets outside of New York, sources said.

City & State Staffers were told of the deal Monday morning.

“We’ll probably add one or two markets this year,” GEMG CEO Tim Hartman told the Post. “We have about 100 employees and City & State has about 30. By the end of the year, we expect to be around 150.”

Hartman said markets now under consideration for expansion include California, Texas, Florida and New Jersey.

Private equity firm Growth Catalyst Partners, which financed Government Executive Media Group’s spinoff from Atlantic Media Group in March 2020, is financing the acquisition of City &State.

Hartman said GEMG’s business actually grew 20 percent last year. “The public sector is countercyclical,” said Hartman. “In a national crisis, government becomes more activated.” Readership includes elected officials, government administrators, lobbyists and political operatives.

In addition to a weekly magazine, City & State publishes four policy newsletters and runs an events business. As part of the deal, City & State co-founder Tom Allon plans to stay on board as publisher and general manager while Steve Farbman, another co-founder, will exit the company.

City & State generates an estimated $5 million a year in revenue, sources said. It grew out of monthly newspapers City Hall News, founded in 2006, and Capitol, which covered Albany. It was combined and reflagged as a weekly City & State in 2011.

“I’ve been wanting to do others states for the past seven years, and now we have the backing to do it,” said Allon. He said the company was profitable in 2020 although down from the previous year due to COVID-19. Allon started as a weekly newspaper editor at West Side Spirit and then became an executive vice president when it was acquired by News Communications.

He went on to co-found Manhattan Media, which at one time included Avenue magazine and Dan’s Papers before he left and the new owners ultimately sold off its publications piecemeal over several years.

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