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Dart makes commitment to a Cayman institution, acquires Compass Media

Dart has entered into an agreement to purchase Compass Media, including the Cayman Compass and four radio stations: Z99.9, Rooster 101.9, Gold Cayman 94.9 and Island FM 98.9. The agreement is subject to the approval of the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg).  

See below full announcement released on the Cayman Compass website on 31 May 2023: 

James Bergstrom, owner of Compass Media since 2019, has led the company through the pandemic; steered its restructuring into a modern media company; overseen the acquisition and integration of four radio stations, Z99 FM, Rooster Cayman Country FM, Gold FM and Island FM; and facilitated the sale of the commercial print business. 

Compass Media has been restructured to be able to survive the dramatic changes over the last few decades that severely challenged the company’s ability to survive, largely due to the rise of the Internet and shift from print to digital technology, with consumers turning to social media and other digital platforms rather than to investigative news. 

However, after five years, Mr. Bergstrom has agreed to sell the business to Dart Media and Entertainment, subject to the necessary regulatory approval. 

“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. 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,” Bergstrom said. 

“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.” 

This newspaper has a long legacy of upholding the highest levels of journalistic integrity since being founded in 1965 by Caymanian businessman Billy Bodden. This continued through various transitions including those that saw Brian Uzzell taking over as majority owner in 1974, then David and Vikki Legge’s Pinnacle Media bought the newspaper in 2013 and has been under James Bergstrom’s ownership since 2019. With the addition of the Hurley’s Media radio stations, the media offerings have expanded to better keep the Cayman community informed, entertained and connected. 

The management of the Compass Media and their teams have been integral to its success and evolution into a modern media company, and Dart values their continued contributions to the company. Dart is committed to protect the integrity of the company while providing financial stability, to ensure the Cayman Islands has an ethical, accurate and balanced source of news and current affairs. 

“We are committed to building on the solid foundation that has been laid since the Compass was founded more than a half century ago. 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,” said Dart Chief Executive Officer, Mark VanDevelde. 

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