Blethen Sale Delayed
Blethen and Maine Media Investments have agreed to extend their purchase and sale agreement for “about 30 days,” according to Richard Connor of MMI, while the buyers try to line up financing. No purchase price has been announced.
Letting the transaction slip into the new year has tax implications for the Blethens, who had hoped to offset the capital gains tax on profits they made selling real estate holdings out west with the loss they were taking on the Maine papers. In addition, pseudonymous blogger T. Cushing Munjoy speculates the price MMI is offering could be reduced, as the market for newspaper advertising declines and as lenders become increasingly skeptical of the long-term viability of the Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.
MMI is still negotiating with the Newspaper Guild, the largest union at Blethen, seeking wage and benefit concessions in return for a share of future profits and a union seat on the company’s board. Connor has already said that once the sale is done, he expects significant layoffs at all three dailies.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.