City Desk

Benton: “I Thought We Had a Done Deal”

More on the failed attempt by Falls Church News-Press Owner Nicholas F. Benton's to acquire the Washington Blade prior to yesterday's shutdown. As mentioned in this post, Benton had won a bid to acquire the Blade from its broke parent company, Window Media. Or at least he thought he had.

Here's the way Benton tells it: His people and the Blade's corporate overlords were in the very final stages of completing the ownership transfer. Around Nov. 6, Benton was waiting for some notes from the other side's lawyers on "finalizing the contract for sale." But they got no notes. "We got silence," says Benton. "We weren't in touch."

Next thing Benton knows, the Blade is dead.

Here's a bit more detail on just what the deal would have involved. According to Benton, the idea was to acquire the Blade free and clear of the debt load that was killing it. Benton also wanted to "retain as many of the employees as possible and continue business as usual." Money was also part of the deal, though Benton won't say just yet how much he was offering.

Perhaps it wasn't enough to offset the always-high legal fees involved in transferring ownership of a paper. Or perhaps it was—who knows at this point. More updates to come.

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