Seattle Times Company to Explore Sale of Blethen Maine NewspapersBack to News

SEATTLE, WA, March 17, 2008 – 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 Maine Newspapers.

The sale would include the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel and, a Web site that serves as a news and information portal for the state of Maine.

“We 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 Sunday.

The 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.