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.
March 17, 2008 11:02 AM
from Carolyn Kelly
I wanted to let you
know about an announcement we are making this morning related to Blethen Maine
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
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.
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
Company to Explore Sale of
Citing 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
sale would include the Portland Press
Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel and MaineToday.com, a Web
site that serves as a news and information portal for the state of
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
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.