Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sale deadline passes, 'Tucson Citizen' likely to quit in March

Gannett Co. Inc.'s self-imposed deadline to receive bids for the Tucson Citizen has passed with no apparent offers, making it likely the 138-year-old paper will stop publication in March, the newspaper reported.

A Gannett spokeswoman described the Feb. 19 deadline as flexible, meaning a last-minute purchase would be considered. But media experts doubt a buyer will emerge because Gannett is holding on to its 50 percent interest in the joint operating agreement (JOA) it has with the Arizona Daily Star, owned by Lee Enterprises Inc.

The Citizen and the Star have had a JOA since 1940, with each producing independent editorial and news content, while production, distribution, advertising and other non-news operations are handled by a third corporation, Tucson Newspapers Inc. The papers share equally in the profits from Tucson Newspapers operations.

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