Washington, D.C. Partner Jim Wade Discusses DOJ Investigation of Tuscon Citizen Buyers

03/04/2009

Justice Dept. Questions Potential Tucson Citizen Buyers
Tucson Citizen

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the sale of the Tucson Citizen by querying potential buyers about contact with the broker handling the sale.

Two of those potential buyers contacted the Citizen last week and said broker Robert Broadwater would not reveal specifics of the sale without the interested parties first supplying proof of their financial viability.

Broadwater did, however, say one condition the Citizen's owner had placed on the sale was that a buyer would have to continue producing a printed newspaper.

Gannett Co. Inc. announced Jan. 16 it was selling the Citizen archives, Web domain name and subscriber list, but not its 50 percent interest in the joint operating agreement it has with the owner of the Arizona Daily Star. That agreement covers non-news functions of the two papers, including printing and distribution.

The former chief of the Litigation III section of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division said inquiries to potential buyers are "standard procedure" in the sale of newspapers involved in JOAs, but it would be "highly unusual" for the government to impose specific conditions requiring the production and sale of a printed version of the paper.

"The alternative explanation is that the seller is imposing that condition," said James R. Wade, now a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Haynes and Boone, LLP.

Excerpted from the Tucson Citizen.  For full story, click here.



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