Guns and Gear

Employees: Obama donor in process of buying up and ‘destroying’ America’s top pro-gun media outlets

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
Font Size:

Employees of Obama donor Leo Hindery Jr.’s media conglomerate Intermedia Partners, which now owns most of the top gun-culture media outlets in the country, believe that Hindery plans to gut and destroy all of them as part of a business plan that has already led to numerous layoffs and the virtual shuttering of prominent television production facilities in Minnesota and Montana.

Hindery, who was in consideration to be President Barack Obama’s secretary of commerce, is managing partner of Intermedia Partners. The New York-based media private equity fund owns Intermedia Outdoor Holdings, which publishes 17 hunting, fishing, and shooting magazines, including Guns & Ammo, Handguns, Gun Dog, Rifle Shooter and Shooting Times.

InterMedia Outdoor Holdings purchased the pro-gun hunting and fishing network the Sportsman Channel in 2007, and is now in the process of acquiring the Outdoor Channel, pending the federal government’s approval of last month’s merger between InterMedia Outdoors and Outdoor Channel Holdings.

InterMedia employees believe that Hindery, a Huffington Post blogger who has contributed to numerous Democratic politicians including Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren, is in the process of consolidating all of America’s leading gun-culture media outlets and stripping them down to virtual destruction.

Prior to its acquisition by InterMedia, the media brand Petersen’s Hunting, the television arm of which is broadcast by the Sportsman Channel, was housed in a “beautiful” facility in Baxter, Minnesota, overlooking the Mississippi River. The facility had approximately 60 employees, a massive studio, at least nine editing bays and fully-wired machine rooms and was conducting about four studio shoots per year with a full production crew.

That facility now mostly consists of about 12 employees — “basic administrative types,” who “think every day they go into work is going to be their layoff day,” according to an InterMedia employee who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“They have people working out of rental strip malls doing all of their TV production,” the source said.

Employees of the Baxter facility were offered the chance to move to Peoria, Ill., which offers a tax credit to companies who “create” jobs in town, in order to keep their employment.

“That studio in Brainerd was a real staple in that community for years. We used to joke that it was the Microsoft of Brainerd County. Everyone was impressed if you worked there. You made money, you did well, you had this dream life. Then Leo Hindery Jr. bought it and just completely gutted it,” said the employee. “It’s sad. I know a lot of good people in Brainerd who lost their jobs and had their houses foreclosed on.”

Petersen’s Hunting now “has its entire TV production staff working out of call centers” in Peoria, according to the employee.

InterMedia also purchased a company called Barrett Productions in Missoula, Mont., which was previously a thriving and well-respected television production company. The Barrett facility is now “gutted.”

“There’s nothing there but one intern slash production assistant and one administrative type. All the production people are gone. It’s a shell,” according to the employee.

“Now that Hindery has the Outdoor Channel, he’s in a position to consolidate all of the major pro-Second Amendment media titles in this country, strip them down, and destroy them, like venture capitalists do sometimes,” the employee said.

Many Outdoor Channel producers are “scared shitless,” realizing that the careers they built are now in the hands of an Obama donor who is in the process of breaking apart pro-gun media companies.

New York-based InterMedia Outdoors CEO Jeff Paro sent a memo to staff Feb. 4 describing the merger.

“It’s hard to believe it has been several months since the announcement of the IMO/SC and Outdoor Channel merger. It probably seems like it is taking forever, but unfortunately, despite great progress, that is the nature the beast. Since some time has passed, I just wanted to take a moment and provide you with a brief update of where we are to date and next steps for IMO over the next 4-6 weeks,” Paro wrote.

“Our registration for the new combined company was submitted to the SEC several weeks ago and we are hopeful that we will see final approvals soon. There will then be a short period of review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which is required for the cable nets and then the merger ultimately will be subject to a formal vote by the current Outdoor Channel Shareholders. When all is said and done the new company, InterMedia Outdoor Holdings Inc. will be official. While you never know, our expectations are that this process will get us to go by, or around March 1st,” Paro wrote.

“So with this time frame as a target the management teams from SC/IMO and OC have begun the process of evaluating and prioritizing our integration strategy at launch. This process will accelerate over the coming weeks as many of our senior managers have already been recruited to participate on different integration teams. Most of the areas under immediate consideration are on the TV side between SC and OC, but with that said we have several groups forming to evaluate plans for some exciting development opportunities in TV, Digital and Multimedia Sales and Marketing,” Paro wrote.

“Thank you to everyone for staying focused on your business during this time of change. I know how easy it can be to get distracted so it is really appreciated. More updates to come as we learn more over the next few weeks,” Paro added.

InterMedia employees are currently joking about who gets to take home the furniture from the Outdoor Channel’s offices.

UPDATE: After this story was published, InterMedia Outdoors CEO Jeff Paro told TheDC that the thought of his company taking over hunting magazines as a means of shutting them down is “simply a preposterous idea.”

“InterMedia Outdoors is owned by InterMedia Partners VII, a private equity fund with numerous limited partners,” Paro said in a statement. “Leo Hindery, Jr., as the General Partner of InterMedia Partners, has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to his limited partners to maximize the value of each of InterMedia Partner’s investments, including InterMedia Outdoors, and he vigorously works to do that each day, as witnessed by his long and successful track record.”

“To suggest something different is wildly incorrect.”

Follow Patrick on Twitter