Analyst: Local Dow Papers Likely to Draw Bidders

By: E&P Staff Bloomberg is reporting that Gannett Co., Lee Enterprises Inc., and GateHouse Media Inc. may be the most likely buyers for the 22 local newspapers News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch plans to sell after completing his purchase of Dow Jones & Co. this year.

Murdoch said this week he planned to sell the local newspapers "fairly quickly" once his $5.2 billion purchase is completed in the fourth quarter.

Dow Jones's Ottaway Community newspapers include the Cape Cod Times and the Standard-Times in New Bedford in Massachusetts, as well as six other daily and 14 weekly publications in New York, California, and four other states.

Potential bidders may pay up to $660 million, according to Larry Grimes, who buys and sells newspapers for media investment bank W.B. Grimes & Co., and Edward Atorino, an industry analyst at Benchmark Co. in New York. Atorino said Hearst Corp. and Advance Publications Inc., both closely held, might also bid for the assets.

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