Breaking news: Alaska Dispatch files Chapter 11, new owners emerge

Alaska Dispatch News has filed for Chapter 11, the last step before a company goes into bankruptcy. The filing allows the company to reorganize, but apparently it’s changing hands as a part of the deal.

The Dispatch is proceeding under new potential owners led by Ryan Binkley and Jason Evans, from longtime Alaska families. They will be co-publishers until a permanent publisher can be found, the new publishing group said Saturday night. It unclear if the paper has been actually sold, but it’s evident a sale is in the works.

Chapter 11 gives a company protection from creditors for a limited amount of time to allow it to restructure.

Ryan Binkley, Wade Binkley, James Binkley, and Kai Binkley Sims, and the Alaska Media LLC comprise the consortium that would be the new owners, should the court allow the deal to proceed.

Former Anchorage Daily News publisher Jerry Grilly, who retired as president and CEO of the Denver Post in 2012, is consulting with the group. He has been spotted in Anchorage over the past few days.

Dispatch owner Alice Rogoff said in a statement through what is now her former newspaper, “We’ve worked hard to help illuminate the issues of our day and provide a platform for points of view from across Alaska.  Yet like newspapers everywhere, the struggle to make ends meet financially eventually caught up with us. I simply ran out of my ability to subsidize this great news product. Financial realities can’t be wished away.”

In addition to the Chapter 11 protections, the company says it plans to ask the bankruptcy court to allow it to borrow up to $1 million from the potential buyers, a group of Alaskans that include the Binkleys and Evans. The new buyers have been trying to close a deal with Rogoff for some time.

 

Last week, Rogoff told her staff in an email that she was in active discussion with “investors.”

On Friday, after news hit that her newspaper was being evicted from the GCI building on Northway Drive, she described it this way: “GCI is aware that we are in discussions with potential new owners and investors.”

She also told the Alaska Journal of Commerce last week, “Until the discussions are concluded, we are unable to provide any details. Please know that business disputes arise from many causes and are never one-sided. We hope that this matter will be resolved shortly to the benefit of all parties.”

(This story will be updated.)

 

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