NEW YORK Aug 6 Cox Enterprises has taken the
Austin American-Statesman off the market after failing to get
satisfactory offers for the daily newspaper, the company said
The Statesman will operate under the Cox Media Group, a
unit of the Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.
"This is a profitable company, and it just did not make
sense to sell it for the prices offered," the paper's
publisher, Michael Vivio, said in an article on its website.
The privately held Cox, whose largest paper is the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, put the American-Statesman up for sale
along with 28 other papers to raise cash to pay off debt.
The American-Statesman had attracted interest from several
parties, including private equity firm ZelnickMedia Corp, run
by Strauss Zelnick, chairman of video game publisher Take Two
Interactive Software Inc (TTWO.O).
Cox had sought about $200 million for the paper, sources
previously told Reuters; but the value likely has fallen since
earlier this year because of advertising revenue declines
hurting most newspapers and traditional media companies.
The company has found buyers for other, smaller papers on
the market, including the Waco Tribune-Herald in Texas and The
Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The market for U.S. newspapers has cooled in recent years,
following big deals such as McClatchy Co's (MNI.N) purchase of
Knight Ridder and Lee Enterprises Inc's (LEE.N) purchase of the
Pulitzer newspaper chain.
Those deals came just before advertising revenue began a
precipitous slide at many U.S. papers, mainly because more
people get their news for free online. Ad revenue has tanked in
the past year, also because of the financial crisis, making
already troubled papers an even more difficult buy.
Some papers have closed, including Hearst Corp's Seattle
Post-Intelligencer and EW Scripps Co's (SSP.N) Rocky Mountain
News. New York Times Co (NYT.N) had threatened to close The
Boston Globe if it could not get its unions to agree to cost
savings. It is seeking a buyer for the paper.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan, editing by Gerald E.