Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Update on the Brown Publishing Bankruptcy

Filed under: Brown Publishers,Ohio Community Media Inc.,PNC Bank — gator1965 @ 2:37 pm

The intrigue surrounding Brown Publishing gets more and more debacle-lized (this word is not in the dictionary, but it sounds good) as more details reach us common folk.

This update from the Mansfield News Journal by Thomas Palmer (no good link for this writer):

Uncertainty remains the only constant as the Brown Publishing bankruptcy continues to unfold.

In July, a bankruptcy court declared an insider’s group, Brown Media, the successful bidder for all but three of the chain’s newspapers. However, documents filed with the bankruptcy court in August revealed the group was unable to complete its purchase when its lender withdrew. The same paperwork reported debtors were negotiating to sell the remaining operations to financial giant PNC, the second-highest bidder, on or before Sept. 2.

On Thursday, Editor & Publisher reported a sale to PNC was imminent. On the same day, a source at Brown Publishing said employees were informed the sale has been finalized and there would be a new owner for the chain’s remaining properties.

On Friday, the court issued an order approving the sale of assets to Ohio Community Media, a company owned by six financial institutions, including PNC. A separate sale approved at the same time means that Dan’s Papers, the largest newspaper in the lucrative Hamptons area of Long Island, was not included in the Brown-Ohio Community Media agreement. The new owner’s name replaced that of Brown Publishing on the chain’s local news websites Friday, and a possible new corporate website appeared at

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Something Fishy in the State of Brown Publishing?

I don’t trust banks, their motives and their hidden (or otherwise) fees. And when I hear that a group of “lenders” have formed a company to buy a bankrupt company (in this case Brown Publishing) that is a debtor to them, after Brown company employees tried to buy their company, something just HAS to be wrong!

Don’t ask me what, I just don’t know enough about the inner workings of this deal, BUT, it seems awfully fishy…Legal, no doubt, but stink-emitting nonetheless.

This from Business Courier of Cincinnati:

After a bid from company insiders fell through, Cincinnati-based Brown Publishing now will likely be sold to a company formed by its lenders.

The Dayton Daily News Reports that attorneys for Brown Publishing filed papers this week that indicate that Brown newspapers would be transferred to a company called Ohio Community Media Inc. for about $22 million.

The company is owned by a group of lenders that includes PNC Bank, Prudential Insurance Co., Wells Fargo Bank, Allied Irish Bank, AIB Debt Management, Brown Brothers and Harriman, and Huntington National Bank, according to the report.

A group formed by Brown Publishing CEO Roy Brown, CFO Joe Ellingham and General Counsel Joel Dempsey had been attempting to close on a $22.4 million bid for the Cincinnati-based publishing firm.

But according to court filings, the group disclosed last week that it could not complete the buy because the lender had withdrawn. The lender wasn’t identified.

John’s Note: What you want to bet this unidentified lender is one belonging to the newly-formed, successful-bidder company: Ohio Community Media Inc.?

Brown Publishing, which filed for bankruptcy in May, operates a chain of small-town newspapers and business weeklies. It owed about $105 million to creditors when a liquidity squeeze prompted it to file for bankruptcy protection, according to the company’s court filings. The book value of its assets at the time was about $94 million.

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