Media General explores sales of newspapers

Media General announced on Wednesday that it is exploring the sale of its newspaper operations, including the Waynesboro-based News Virginian.

The Richmond-based company said it has received inquiries from third parties regarding the potential sale of its newspapers. Media General’s newspapers include The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress and The (Lynchburg) News and Advance.

A Media General employee told that the word inside the company is that all 23 Media General-owned newspapers will be on the market and that the company is actively looking for potential buyers. A company press release made the situation sound a little less dire, emphasizing that company officials will consider asset sales at valuations that reflect the strength of its properties, that there can be no assurance that any transaction will take place and that there is no definitive timetable for the evaluation process to conclude.

A report in the Times-Dispatch today did detail that Media General has been looking for ways to cut its debt load, which was at $658 million at the end of 2011, and that the company said in January that it was “uncomfortable” with its ability to remain in compliance with its debt covenants as they tighten this year.

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