An Oregon media company which owns multiple news outlets around Oregon is attempting to outbid out-of-state competitors for the Bend Bulletin, central Oregon’s only daily newspaper, and the nearby weekly Redmond Spokesman.
EO Media Group, who owns the East Oregonian, Daily Astorian, Capital Press, and eight other outlets in Oregon, is offering $2.5 million for the two embattled newspapers, edging out a $2.25 million bid from Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers and an undisclosed amount from Boston-based Adams Publishing.
Original Bulletin owners Western Communications, run by a Bend family who has operated the paper for 66 years, announced bankruptcy earlier this year, following years of cutbacks and layoffs. The company is in the process of selling off all of its assets. EO Media already purchased two of Western’s weekly papers, the Baker City Herald and La Grande Observer, just over a month ago.
EO Vice president Kathryn Brown credited the success of their company’s bid to a group of unnamed “community leaders in Bend.” Brown wrote in a statement that EO believes the Bulletin and Spokesman “have a bright financial future.”
The official auction for the papers will be held on Monday, July 29 at the legal offices of Tonkon Torp LLP.
Adams Publishing already owns two newspapers in Oregon, the Herald & News in Klamath Falls and the Lake County Examiner in Lakeview.
Reporting on Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers (RISN) has revealed questionable connections between the company and its former parent company, a now-bankrupt Canadian conglomerate called Hollinger Inc. In 2004, Hollinger’s executives were accused of stealing over $400 million from the company through bogus contracts, and two top executives were convicted of fraud in 2007.
Dozens of papers owned by RISN list their offices at a strip mall in Illinois. This office is apparently owned by Horizon Publications, a former subsidiary of Hollinger. Many former Hollinger executives are now vice presidents and corporate officers at Horizon Publishing, and have made a practice of buying out local newspapers who are struggling financially.
By Ian MacRonald