Black Press Media announced Monday is is selling all of its properties, which include the Juneau Empire in Alaska’s capital city, the Kenai Peninsula Clarion, and the Homer News.
The company is restructuring and has sought creditor protection during the transition in the British Columbia courts, and will also seek protection from creditors in Delaware courts.
The newspaper company’s announcement did not use the term “bankruptcy.” But filing under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act enables the Company to restructure its financial affairs while holding off creditors in some capacity, the company statement appears to say.
There will be a court-appointed monitor during the sale: “The Initial Order provides for, among other things, a stay of proceedings in favour of the Company, the approval of debtor-in-possession financing (‘DIP Financing’) to be provided by Canso Investment Counsel Ltd (‘Canso’), and the appointment of KSV Restructuring Inc. as monitor of the Company (in such capacity, the ‘Monitor’). The Initial Order also extends the stay of proceedings to certain subsidiaries of the Company that are not petitioners in the CCAA Proceedings.”
The company said it intends to continue operating its publications during the restructuring process.
Carpenter Media Group is the proposed new owner. It operates local newspapers in the South, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and Kentucky.
“This plan will lead to a stronger, more sustainable Black Press that will continue to provide by far the best local Canadian and American news coverage in our markets and the best ways for advertisers to reach their customers,” Glenn Rogers, chief executive officer of Black Press, said in a statement. “Canso, Deans Knight and Carpenter Media have been true partners throughout this process as we’ve built a plan that we believe is the right way forward for Black Press.”
The Juneau Empire, founded in 1912, was owned by Morris Communications starting in 1968, but was sold to Gatehouse Media in 2017. In 2018, Gatehouse sold the Juneau Empire, Homer News and Peninsula Clarion to Sound Publishing. Sound Publishing’s parent company is Black Press.
The Juneau Empire, once a six-day-a-week newspaper, now prints only two editions a week now, and those papers are printed in Washington State. The same is true for the Peninsula-Clarion. The newspapers are slowly moving to online only, as the cost of printing physical papers exceeds their sticker price.
Under the terms of the proposed sale, Black Press Media will continue to be Canadian controlled, the company said in a statement. Black Press owns more than 80 community newspapers in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, including the Yukon and Alaska, and Hawaii.
At the same time sale of his newspaper empire was announced, Black, now 77 years old, announced his retirement.
The Anchorage Daily News went through a bankruptcy-protection process while former owner Alice Rogoff was in charge. John Binkley created a company that bought the paper during those bankruptcy proceedings in 2017.
Editor’s note: Suzanne Downing was editor of the Juneau Empire in the 1990s.