January 7, 2008

The Virginian Pilot, owner of The Island Breeze, is for sale

Landmark Communications Inc. confirmed last week that it has hired national investment firms to explore the sale of its properties, including The Virginian-Pilot, which owns The Island Breeze, a monthly newspaper that covers Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
According to published reports in The New York Times and The Virginian-Pilot, Landmark, privately owned by the Batten family and based in Norfolk, has hired investment bank, JPMorgan, to explore the sale of the company’s largest and most valuable property, The Weather Channel, and another firm, Lehman Brothers, to look at the sale of its other media assets, which include nine daily newspapers and more than 100 non-daily and specialty publications.

One of those daily newspapers is The Virginian-Pilot, which bought The Island Breeze in 2000 from Tony McGowan, who started the monthly in 1990.

Landmark said it had hired the two investment firms to “assist in exploring strategic alternatives, including the sale of the company’s businesses.”

“Company revenues topped $2 billion last year,” reported The Virginian-Pilot. “A sale of all, or some, of Landmark’s properties – which include The Weather Channel and Dominion Enterprises – could occur as soon as summer, Landmark executives said.”

The New York Times reported that The Weather Channel, one of the last privately owned cable channels, could sell for more than $5 billion.

“I’m very optimistic that this is the right thing for our shareholders,” Landmark’s chairman and chief executive officer said in The Virginian-Pilot, “and that all of our businesses will prosper, grow and do will under new ownership.”

More information on the announcement by Landmark can be found at http://hamptonroads.com/2008/01/landmark-chairman-batten-jr.%3A-%2526%2523039%3Bit-was-my-decision%2526%2523039%3B


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