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Parent firm not selling for now

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By The Staff

Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, parent company of the Las Vegas Optic, announced this week that, because of difficult credit markets, it has largely suspended the process to sell its remaining businesses.

The process was launched in January and led to the sale in September of The Weather Channel Companies and some smaller sales. Landmark announced earlier this month that its agreement to sell WTVF-TV in Nashville was canceled because the buyer lost its financing.

Frank Batten Jr., Landmark’s chairman and CEO, cited the economy as the main reason for the decision.

“We are in the midst of an extraordinary economic downturn. The credit crisis has made it virtually impossible for companies to obtain bank commitments to help finance acquisitions. And the recession has reduced revenue and earnings and made it very difficult to value a business,” Batten said in a statement.

“We are proud of our businesses and confident about their future — and will not sell them at a time of uncertainty at depressed values,” he said.

Batten said Landmark will operate its businesses for several years before re-instituting the sales process, although it will consider offers during the interim.

The Optic is one of 56 paid-circulation newspapers in the Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. division. Other Landmark businesses are Dominion Enterprises, The Virginian-Pilot Media Companies and Continental Broadband in Norfolk, Va., plus television stations and interactive businesses elsewhere in the U.S.

“I think this is good news for the Optic,” publisher Tom McDonald said. “Landmark is a solid business and this gives us some stability in an uncertain market. Now we can refocus our efforts to serve Las Vegas with a healthy, strong news and advertising product.”