Media General explores sale of newspapers

Associated Press + More

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Newspaper publisher and TV station owner Media General said Wednesday that it is exploring the sale of its newspaper operations, which produce nearly half its revenue.

The company said that it has received inquiries from several parties interested in purchasing some of its print assets. The company had previously stated that it would consider asset sales to reduce its $658 million in long-term debt.

Media General Inc. publishes the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Tampa Tribune and more than 20 other newspapers. The company also owns 18 TV stations and three digital media advertising services.

Last year, Media General's revenue from printed newspapers came to about $300 million, a little less than half of the company's $616 million in total revenue.

In recent years, print advertising revenue in the newspaper industry has been shrinking, as advertisers migrate to the Internet.

Even so, newspaper assets have been finding buyers. In December, The New York Times Co. sold a group of 16 small, regional newspapers to Halifax Media Holdings LLC for $143 million. The deal is expected to net the Times after-tax proceeds of $150 million in the quarter through March.

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