Pioneer sale plans put on hold

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By The Staff

Landmark Media Enterprises, LLC, parent company of the Williston Pioneer Sun News, Chiefland Citizen, Cedar Key Beacon and Riverland News of Dunnellon, announced Wednesday, Oct. 29, that, due to difficult credit markets, it was largely suspending the process to sell its remaining businesses. The process was launched in January and led to the sale in September of The Weather Channel Companies and some smaller sales. Landmark announced earlier this month that its agreement to sell WTVF-TV in Nashville was cancelled because the buyer lost its financing.

Frank Batten Jr., Landmark's Chairman and CEO, said, "We are in the midst of an extraordinary economic downturn. The credit crisis has made it virtually impossible for companies to obtain bank commitments to help finance acquisitions. And the recession has reduced revenue and earnings and made it very difficult to value a business. As a result, we have decided to largely suspend the sales process. We are proud of our businesses and confident about their future - and will not sell them at a time of uncertainty at depressed values."

Batten said that Landmark will operate its businesses for several years before re-instituting the sales process, although it will consider offers during the interim. The Landmark businesses are Dominion Enterprises, The Virginian-Pilot Media Companies and Continental Broadband in Norfolk, plus newspapers, TV stations and interactive businesses elsewhere in the U.S.