No Deal — Yet!
Contrary to what I reported yesterday, Pennsylvania newspaper publisher Richard Connor will not be completing his purchase of the Blethen Maine Newspapers today. The problem – as it has been for the last nine months – appears to involve money.
According to a source close to the negotiations, Connor isn’t offering enough of it to satisfy the debt-ravaged Blethens.
It’s not clear whether Connor’s low-ball bid is simply a tactic to pressure the owners of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel into signing a deal that does little more than stop their financial hemorrhaging, or whether Connor has been unable to secure enough backing to make a more attractive offer.
What is known is that as of Monday, April 27, Connor thought he had the deal done and conveyed that message to his partners in Dallas, the private equity firm of HM Capital Partners, and to others. Two days later, a hitch developed when the Blethens refused to accept his reduced price.
Sources on both sides insist the deal is not dead, and negotiations are continuing, with one insider insisting the sale will get done within a week.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.