Media General says several parties have expressed interest in acquiring its print assets. “We cannot say that any particular transaction will or will not take place,” CEO Marshall Morton tells his employees. The company owns 23 daily papers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Tampa Tribune, and the Winston-Salem Journal.
February 22, 2012
Dear Fellow Employees,
This afternoon Media General issued a press release announcing that the company is exploring the potential sale of newspaper operations. A copy of the release is posted on the Meganet.
Several times over the past few months, we have stated publicly that to reduce total debt outstanding over time we would consider asset sales if we could obtain valuations that reflected the strength of our properties. In the latter part of 2011, a number of transactions were completed for local media properties, including newspapers, at valuation levels that have not occurred in a number of years, certainly not since the economic downturn began. This is a positive development for the industry. This new marketplace compels us to consider various alternatives.
As we undertake this exploration process, we cannot say that any particular transaction will or will not take place. What we can say is that we will consider various options as we work to increase overall cash flow and reduce total debt outstanding over time.
Any decision to part with any of our properties and their associated employees would be difficult. These are people we value. At the same time, we are mindful that we have sold eight television stations since 2006 and created new opportunities for those properties and employees, and our own acquisitions have done the same.
As we evaluate options, the best course for all of us is to stay focused on continuing to execute our strategy of increasing audience, revenues and cash flow. Your hard work and dedication as we strive to achieve the best outcome for Media General are a key part of accomplishing that goal.