Cox Enterprises, which owns the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, some other newspapers and the nation’s third-largest cable TV system, would like to ditch some of those papers. It has retained Citibank to sell off the Austin American-Statesman and 10 small-town papers in three states, and Goldman Sachs to solicit bids for direct mail operation Valpak. The company plans to keep the AJC, The Palm Beach Post and Dayton Daily News.
These small papers will probably be easier to offload than some of the mid-market papers that are truly being hurt by the double whammy of an ad recession and disappearing eyeballs . The local ad market is in the tank, but at least small town papers provide information not generally available from other sources, like Google. That said, there is no good time for owners to exit the newspaper business, and the auction block is as crowded as a car lot full of SUVs.
Where’s Cox headed? The closely-held company came out of nowhere in April and dropped $300 million on Adify, which makes technology to allow companies like Forbes, Time Warner and Comcast set up their own online ad networks.
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