CHARLESTON — HD Media, the parent company of The Herald-Dispatch, is the successful bidder for the purchase of bankrupt Charleston Newspapers after the withdrawal of a bid previously made by Ogden Newspapers.
According to WV MetroNews, Ogden Newspapers withdrew its bid prior to the newspaper's auction, leaving HD Media the only remaining bidder at the Thursday afternoon auction.
HD Media managing member Doug Reynolds said he had bid $11,487,243 for the organization, compared to Ogden’s original bid of $10.911 million.
The court-ordered auction was set to be held at noon Thursday at a law office in Charleston.
A hearing scheduled is scheduled in Charleston federal court for Friday, March 9, to approve the purchase agreement and take care of other related items.
Reynolds, discussing the purchase with MetroNews during an interview Thursday, said he believes Charleston Newspapers is a superior news organization.
"It's a great asset in terms of circulation and advertising. Great writers. Great reputation,” he said. “Something we felt like was an incredible value."
Reynolds said he realizes the newspaper industry is changing, but has no concerns about the possible new addition.
"The content that we produce reaches more people than it's ever reached,” he said.
Reynolds said several investors were joining in the venture, but did not disclose who they were.
“It’s going to be impressive,” he said. “Our goal is to make it better.”
Charleston Newspapers President Trip Shumate announced in January the company was entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy and that Wheeling-based Ogden Newspapers was expected to be the highest bidder for the company. The filing opened a window in which other potential buyers could come forward to make offers.
According to a notice of appearance filed Tuesday afternoon with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, HD Media Co. LLC was determined by the debtors to be a late qualified bidder after a last minute bid had been made.
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. 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.