Walter Hussman Visits the For-sale Austin American-Statesman Newspaper

Arkansas Business media writer Mark Hengel stumbles upon this from the Cox Enterprises-owned Austin American-Statesman newspaper, which says new investors have come forward to explore buying the paper. Among them, the paper says, is Arkansas Democrat-Gazette owner Walter Hussman:

Austin investor Brian Ferguson , Waco businessman Clifton Robinson and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman Jr. toured the American-Statesman and met with top executives Tuesday.

“There are several groups that have shown great interest” in the Statesman, Cox Media Group President Sandy Schwartz said Wednesday. “We’re in the middle of looking at the bids. They’re all different in different ways, so it’s difficult to compare them.”

Hussman, whose Wehco Media owns cable TV stations and more than 20 daily and weekly newspapers, including the Democrat-Gazette and Chattanooga Times Free Press in Tennessee, did not return calls about whether he is indeed interested in purchasing the paper. Hengel notes that

Last July, Paul Smith, the Democrat-Gazette’s general manager and Wehco’s vice president, told Arkansas Business the company was eyeing expansion possibilities because the the price to buy newspapers was dropping. Wehco bought three Missouri newspapers in March.

The American-Statesman is one of 29 newspapers Cox put up for sale recently. So far, it has sold three newspapers in Texas, two in Colorado and 13 in North Carolina, according to the newspaper.

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