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Landmark Communications, Inc., parent company of the Sentinel-News, Landmark Web Press and more than six other area community newspapers, revealed late Wednesday it would sell the company. Landmark also operates the Weather Channel, nine daily newspapers and numerous publications in at least 15 states.
A potential buyer of the privately held, Norfolk, Va.-based media chain has not been publicly announced. The company could be sold in pieces, according to information released on Landmark's website. A corporate executive reported the sale of some Landmark operations could be finalized as soon as mid-year.
It is not immediately known why the decision was made to explore the sale of the company.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. are advisers on the sale of the company's assets. Landmark's 2006 sales figures were estimated at $1.75 billion, according to Hoover's, which tracks private companies.
In an internal memo, Landmark's CEO Frank Batten, Jr. acknowledged that some employees may have concerns, but said it was too early to "speculate on where this process will lead."
Landmark's operation employs about 12,000, including at least 100 employees in its three Shelbyville operations.
Mike Abernathy, president and CEO of Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc. -- the Shelbyville-based headquarters of 56 community newspapers, presses and other products throughout the country, said LCNI's division of community newspapers, including the Sentinel-News, the Oldham Era in La Grange, the Pioneer News in Shepherdsville, The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, the Anderson News in Lawrenceburg and the Spencer Magnet in Taylorsville, would likely be sold together. Landmark's major dailies, including its flagship paper, the Virginian-Pilot, would likely be sold individually.
What will the potential buyout mean for readers and advertisers in Shelby County? Not much, said Sentinel-News Publisher Kerry Johnson.
"We are dedicated to Shelby County," he said. "Whether Landmark continues to own us or we get a new owner. It shouldn't change our mission at all."