Daytona Newspaper Fighting Judge’s Ruling Over Sale

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The owners of The Daytona Beach News-Journal are appealing a federal judge’s ruling that the company must pay $129.2 million to buy out minority partner Cox Enterprises Inc.

The News-Journal Corp. says U.S. District Court Judge John Antoon incorrectly based that value on how the newspaper should be operated instead of how it has been run, according to a brief filed Wednesday at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

The newspaper is family owned with a large investment in the community and is not a high-profit venture, the appeal says.

“NJC’s business strategy is markedly different from that which Cox would have implemented, and different from that employed by chain newspapers,” News-Journal attorney Joseph W. Hatchett wrote in the appeal.

Atlanta-based Cox owns nearly half of the News-Journal and had sued the newspaper’s board of directors, accusing them of wasting $13 million for naming rights to a community arts center in Daytona Beach. The suit prompted the paper to initiate the buyout.

The News-Journal had argued it should pay $29.4 million, based on what the company would be worth if it continued operating as it has in the past.

An attorney for Cox, John A. DeVault III, was out of town and did not immediately return a telephone message left Thursday morning. A message left with Cox representatives Thursday was also not immediately returned.

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