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Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Star-Bulletin closing after 117 years

sale deadline

Publisher David Black
has until tomorrow to finish a
deal to buy the newspaper

By Rick Daysog

Canadian publisher David Black has until tomorrow afternoon to wrap up a deal to buy the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Federal Magistrate Barry Kurren yesterday scheduled the 4 p.m. hearing to either approve or terminate Black's purchase of the 118-year-old afternoon daily.

Kurren had scheduled a similar hearing for Monday, but it was postponed after Black and attorneys for the Star-Bulletin's owner, Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership, and the Honolulu Advertiser's owner, Gannett Co., were unable to complete a deal after more than 10 hours of private negotiations in Kurren's chambers.

In addition to Kurren's approval, any deal would be contingent on obtaining an adequate supply of newsprint and a labor agreement with the union that represents most of the Star-Bulletin's 97 newsroom employees, Black said yesterday.

Black, whose Black Press Ltd. owns 80 newspapers in western Canada and Washington, said he expects to complete the transaction by tomorrow's deadline. Yesterday, lawyers for the three companies exchanged documents but did not negotiate, he said.

The parties have already agreed to a March 15 date for Black to take over the Star-Bulletin.

Black said he hopes to begin negotiations soon with the union.

While separately owned, the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser share business functions, such as circulation and printing, in a joint operating agreement controlled by Gannett. If Black's purchase goes through, the JOA will end and the two newspapers will compete directly for readers and advertisers.

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