Honolulu Joining Ranks of One-Paper Towns as ‘Star-Bulletin’ Gets Antitrust OK to Buy ‘Advertiser’

By: E&P Staff

Nobody will buy the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, whose owner was given U.S. Justice Department approval to buy its rival Honolulu Advertiser from Gannett Co.

The Antitrust Department said Tuesday it had closed its investigation into the deal in which the money-losing Star-Bulletin would buy the market-leading Advertiser.

Star-Bulletin owner David Black was required by the Justice Department to try to sell the paper after he made an unexpected offer to buy the Advertiser. He intends to consolidate the papers into a single Honolulu daily. Dozens of layoffs are expected as a result.

The sale attracted just two bidder, none of which were approved by Antitrust.

According to press reports, Hawaii state Sen. Sam Slom and his wife Malia Zimmerman submitted a bid that was below the minimum liquidation price. Another bidder proposed a sort of joint operating agreement arrangement that included the profitable Midweek weekly chain, which the Star-Bulletin had not put up for sale.

Black is expected to consolidate the two papers, with the bulk of the layoffs coming from the Advertiser. Hawaiian media reports say the paper will be named the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The sale is expected to close Sunday.

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