About the Direct Public Offering (DPO)

How much money do you want to raise?

We plan to raise $400,000.

What is the minimum investment?

The minium investment is $1,000. Shares cost $4 each, thus the minimum purchase is 250 shares.

What do I get for my investment?

  • 3 percent annual dividend
  • Front row civic engagement
  • Access to special content and live events
  • The opportunity to meet with newspaper leaders and other reader-investors to help create the future of community journalism

How will the money be spent?

  • We will increase the marketing team and fund new advertising initiatives.
  • We will add newsroom resources, including digital tools and added support to retain talented journalists.
  • We will convene a series of live events and community gatherings.
  • You can find more details about our plans in our DPO prospectus.

Do I have to be pre-qualified to invest?

You must be a resident of California to invest in this DPO. In addition there are some financial requirements which can be found on page 10 of the DPO prospectus.

Where can I download your DPO prospectus?

Please see our INVEST page. On that page, click the red button to open a PDF of the DPO prospectus package.

What is a Direct Public Offering (DPO)?

A Direct Public Offering, or DPO, is a public offering of securities by a business or nonprofit made directly to both accredited and non-accredited investors. By using a DPO, also known as investment crowd funding, Sonoma West Publishers ensures our pool of investors will be interested in expanding community partnerships that will foster more livable and inclusive communities.

Why did you choose a Direct Public Offer?

  • The DPO structure is well suited for small businesses, especially ones like ours that seek to offer a widespread community benefit.
  • We believe our best investors are those who already value and support what we do and want to share in our success.
  • We want to keep our money in the local economy and working to help build a better community. Rather than pay a bank or large lender, the DPO allows us to directly pay you a return on your investment.
  • The Direct Public Offer structure supports a wide base of community investors while preserving the independent editorial voice of the community newspaper.

What is so innovative about a DPO?

A DPO is the only way a company like ours can publicly advertise an investment to a large pool of potential investors, both accredited and unaccredited. It allows us to reach the wider community, rather than just the few. This allows us to leverage the power of community funding while offering an investment return. Unlike one-time donations or typical Kickstarter campaigns, a DPO is a regulated investment instrument that pays continuing dividends on original investments.

How will I get my money back?

The shares earn three percent annual dividends, which will either be paid in cash at the end of year or accrue until paid in a later year. If the company is sold or liquidated, investors will have a preferential right to receive their investment amount plus accrued dividends. The company can choose to repurchase the shares, at the investment amount plus accrued dividends, at any time. Shares are transferable, subject to a number of restrictions described in the offering materials. Sonoma West Publishers is required to issue an annual financial summary and report to all investors which will be made public to the entire community as well.

Is it risky?

Yes, there is risk in every investment and this is no different. Sonoma West Publishers, inc. is offering preferred stock that would be junior to any creditors in a bankruptcy. This risk is offset by the fact that, with three percent annual dividends, we are paying much higher returns than the best bank savings accounts now offer. An investment in Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. diversifies your portfolio, builds local economic resilience, strengthens your sense of place in your community, and supports independent local news. All investments are about risk, but with most investments you are placing your money in a third-party arrangement with no opportunity to make direct contact. Investing in Sonoma West Publishers is very likely investing with someone you already know — us. And, if you don’t know us, you will have every opportunity to do so.

Why didn’t you consider other funding options?

It’s true that some newspapers and news companies have adopted other investment and membership models. We chose the DPO model because it is the best financial structure to support independent journalism. A non-profit structure would require a board of directors and might not allow for certain kinds of future journalism endeavors required where there is private competition. Also, the DPO is a set 12-month funding period that would avoid the need for perpetual fund raising. We feel strongly in our chosen approach to build a more sustainable business model for our local newspapers where our advertiser partners and existing subscribers can more actively participate in the future of their local newspaper.

What if the $400,000 investment goal is not reached? Will I still earn my dividend?

We do not have to raise the full $400,000 and we have listed a series of expenditures and initiatives we will be implementing as the first investments come in. All dividends on individual investments begin to accrue as soon they are deposited with Sonoma West Publishers, Inc.

If I have other questions, whom should I contact?

Contact owner/publisher Rollie Atkinson at invest@sonomawest.com or (707) 433-4451.