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Doug Reynolds, managing member of HD Media

CHARLESTON — Huntington-based HD Media, which owns The Herald-Dispatch, has been named the new owner of Charleston Newspapers, parent company of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Frank Volk approved the sale during a hearing in Charleston on Friday morning.

Charleston Newspapers attorney Brian Audette, who presided over the auction, said Friday he was shocked that Ogden Newspapers removed its bid for the newspaper, and said no one saw that move coming.

Wheeling-based Ogden had bid $10.9 million for the enterprise in January, initially emerging as the highest bidder for the bankrupt company.

HD Media managing partner Doug Reynolds is now expected to analyze the company and determine whether or not to retain all employees.

His attorney Thomas Gilpin, of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in Huntington, said his plan is to keep most of the workers, because “it’s a very valuable workforce.”

While HD Media did not keep a non-compete clause for the current Charleston Newspapers owners, as Ogden planned to, it did agree to employee incentives established for several key workers identified by the company as particularly valuable assets.

A closing date is expected by March 30.

HD Media, based in Huntington, was formed in 2013 specifically for the purpose of buying The Herald-Dispatch from Champion Industries, which had owned the newspaper since 2007. Its managing member is Doug Reynolds. Since then, HD Media has purchased the Wayne County News, The Logan Banner, Williamson Daily News, the Coal Valley News in Madison and the Independent Herald in Pineville. HD Media also publishes the Lawrence Herald and Putnam Herald weekly newspapers as well as River Cities Magazine, which is published bimonthly.

This is a developing story. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

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