After long and careful consideration, the senior executive team, with the approval of the board of directors of ABARTA, has decided to put The Press Media Group up for sale.
As most of you know all too well, the newspaper industry is in the midst of a fundamental transformation, and The Press Media Group is no exception. That transformation has created significant growth constraints for stand-alone, family holding company newspapers like ours, and we have been unable to devise a business strategy to overcome those constraints. The Press Media Group will be much better served by either being part of a larger group of newspapers that can apply economies of scale and strategic leverage to the business, or by local ownership that can leverage its ties to the community.
We all have mixed feelings and a heavy heart about this decision. On the one hand, our family has proudly owned and operated The Press Media Group for sixty years. Four generations of family members have worked in the business over that time, and we have always taken our Fourth Estate responsibilities very seriously. On the other hand, I am absolutely certain this decision is in the best long-term interests of ABARTA and The Press.
Effective today, Jim Hopson will be the interim publisher and chief operating officer of The Press Media Group, reporting directly to me. Many of you will remember Jim as the publisher of the Press from 1989 to 1994. Jim has considerable experience in operating and in selling newspapers. His role will be threefold: 1) provide leadership for the business, 2) improve its financial performance, and 3) usher it through the sale process.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Keith Dawn for 16 years of significant contributions to The Press. We wish him well in what I’m sure will be a bright future.