About Town - Press Herald For Sale - For Sure

Monday, 17 March 2008

Press Herald For Sale - For Sure

In August 2006, we used the above graphic to illustrate a story called "Press Herald For Sale?" in which I posited that all signs were pointing to an impending sale of the Portland Press Herald, and quoted owner Frank Blethen as asking, in a September 2003 Press Herald article, "Can you just keep going?"

The answer: Not much longer at all now, what with layoffs, an impending price hike, circulation drops, and shrinking area for news.

The following is a memo from the Seattle Times corporate office to company employees that went out this morning.

From: Company Communications
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 11:02 AM
To: All Seattle Times
Subject: Message from Carolyn Kelly

I wanted to let you know about an announcement we are making this morning related to Blethen Maine Newspapers.

The Blethen family has made the decision to explore the sale of Blethen Maine Newspapers. As you all know, the industry economics have been particularly challenging for us as a small, independent newspaper company. The unrelenting challenges and unique circumstances here have led us to conclude that scaling back to a smaller organization is necessary at this time. Doing so provides the best opportunity for success in the long term for both the Seattle Times Company and for Blethen Maine Newspapers.

The Blethen family will continue to own and operate The Seattle Times and the Washington affiliates: the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Issaquah Press and Rotary Offset Press.

Today's announcement does not mean that we are out of the woods; we hope it buys us some breathing room as we transform ourselves. We do not anticipate any changes to our operations here; we will continue to redefine our business model and work to align our cost structure with our revenue.

A copy of the press announcement is attached. If you have any questions, please ask your manager or department head.

Carolyn Kelly




Seattle Times Company to Explore Sale of

Blethen Maine Newspapers



SeattleCiting ongoing challenges in the industry and the need to focus on the future of its flagship newspaper and affiliate newspapers in the State of Washington, the Seattle Times Company has announced that it will explore the sale of its Blethen Maine Newspapers. 


The sale would include the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel and, a Web site that serves as a news and information portal for the state of Maine.


"We have been proud to be the stewards of these newspapers for the last 10 years.  They provide their communities with high quality, independent journalism that is in keeping with the best traditions of the Seattle Times Company," Seattle Times CEO and Publisher Frank Blethen said.  "We wish our stewardship could continue indefinitely, but the difficult business environment and continuing uncertainties require we consider other options.


"The decision to explore a sale was painful.  But a sale may be the best opportunity for the long-term survival of our newspapers in Washington and those in Maine. "


Chuck Cochrane, CEO and Publisher of Blethen Maine Newspapers, said he does not anticipate this decision will require changes in policies or operations of the newspapers while a sale is being explored.  The three Blethen Maine Newspapers have about 500 employees and combined circulation of about 101,000 daily and 136,900 Sunday.


The Seattle Times Company has engaged Dirks, Van Essen & Murray of Santa Fe, NM, the nation's leading newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm, as a broker to assist with the potential sale.   Blethen said the goal is to have the process completed by at least the end of the year.


Blethen Maine Newspapers is a unit of the Seattle Times Company.





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Press Herald For Sale - For Sure



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