Blethen: Rumor and Sigh
According to spokesman Dennis Bailey, Pennsylvania newspaper publisher Richard Connor and his partners now expect to complete their purchase of the Blethen Maine Newspapers by May 30 or soon after. Bailey called that date “an estimate,” saying minor issues could still delay the deal.
“There are daily hitches,” he said. “They come and go.”
Another source involved in the negotiations said the official announcement would come on May 29. This source said a vote by members of the Portland Newspaper Guild to ratify contract changes needed to reduce the new owners’ operating expenses would be held next week. Union president Tom Bell did not return a phone call seeking comment, but in an e-mail, Bell said, “No vote has been scheduled.”
Two employees at the Portland Press Herald, both of whom asked not to be named, said they’d been told by guild officials that a vote would be held next week. They said members must be given at least five days notice before such a balloting takes place.
Connor and a shifting array of partners – he’s currently allied with HM Capital of Dallas – have been involved in efforts to buy the Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and other Blethen properties in Maine since July of last year. Sources have indicated several times that the purchase was close to completion, only to have supposed deadlines pass without any announcement.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.