Advertising executive Jerry Della Femina has sold his Hamptons newspaper, The Independent, to billionaire businessman Ron Perelman.
“It was a deal between friends,” Della Femina said Wednesday in an interview.
“Ron said ‘We have a deal, if you continue to write your column ‘Jerry’s Ink,’ and I said, ‘We have a deal’ and that was that.”
Della Femina, who made a name for himself in the advertising world, established his ad agency, Della Femina Travisano and Partners, in the late 70s. One of his agency’s most famous campaigns was for Meow Mix, featuring singing cats. It also took on accounts for Target, Rolls-Royce and Speedo.
The ad man has owned the weekly newspaper since the 1990s when he took it over from his daughter, Jodi.
Della Femina, 80, said there was no particular reason for the timing of the sale of the newspaper and declined to disclose the financial terms.
“I was the most benign of newspaper owners,” he said. “I never saw or read the newspaper until it was out. But I know Ron very well, he’s a great friend, and I know he will take the newspaper to a higher level and turn it into a force in the Hamptons.”
Perelman, 74, a longtime shareholder in Revlon, made his $12.4 billion fortune, as estimated by Forbes magazine, by investing in a variety of industries from cosmetics to cars. He’s also the former co-owner of Premiere magazine.
In Wednesday’s issue of The Independent, Perelman published a letter to readers on the front page.
“As the paper’s new owner, I am absolutely committed to supporting The Independent’s mission with a continued focus on covering local news and events while enhancing and expanding the paper’s focus and coverage of the vibrant local arts, culture, dining, social scene and real estate,” he wrote.
Perelman also told readers that they could look forward to a redesigned paper and website launching on Memorial Day.
The newspaper’s management is expected to remain in place.