Thursday, December 23, 1999

Maui News being
sold to chain
in W.Virginia

The buyer is family newspaper
oriented, and the deal is
slated to close in February

By Peter Wagner


The Maui News will have a new owner early next year.

The sale, by parent Maui Publishing Co. to West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers Inc., was announced to the staff this morning by Maui News vice president and publisher Richard Cameron.

Terms of the deal, to close Feb. 1, were not disclosed.

"I think we're all relieved, based on what we've heard and been able to learn about the Odgen chain," said City Editor Christie Wilson. "They seem to have a sensitivity to the community, and that's what we were concerned about."

Cameron could not immediately be reached for comment.

Industry analysts have said the 17,000-circulation daily newspaper, which began as a weekly in 1900, could be worth $20 million.

The 120 Maui News employees have been on edge since learning in October that the afternoon paper was on the market. Some feared for their jobs, or wage cuts. Others were wary of who the new owners would be.

"It was pretty unlikely that anyone locally would step up to buy us, so we knew from the start it would be a newspaper company from the mainland," said Wilson.

Ogden, a family-owned company, publishes 35 daily newspapers and more than 100 weeklies nationwide. Its biggest market is in Wheeling, W.V., where the morning Intelligencer and evening Wheeling News-Register combine for a 47,000 circulation.

Cameron told staff members today that Odgen is noted for keeping local management of its newspapers intact and that no changes in staffing were planned.

Executives at Odgen could not be reached for comment.

The Maui News was acquired in 1940 by J. Walter Cameron and has since been run by a family trust.

Some directors of Maui Publishing Co. earlier objected to the planned sale, urging the paper be kept in the Cameron family.

Company sources said poor profit margins led to the decision to sell.

The Maui News

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