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Wheeling Newspapers’ highest bid for Gazette-Mail nearly $11 million


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Ogden Newspapers bid nearly $11 million to purchase control of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and its related assets, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston on Tuesday.

The figure — $10.911 million — was included in an asset purchase and sale agreement that was part of the bankruptcy filing.

The newspaper’s owners said Monday that Wheeling Newspapers was the highest bidder to assume ownership of the company. Wheeling Newspapers was created by Ogden for the purpose of buying the Gazette-Mail, the largest newspaper in West Virginia. Ogden owns daily newspapers in Wheeling, Parkersburg, Martinsburg and Elkins, as well as several other publications in West Virginia and dozens of them across the country.

Charleston Newspapers has more than $31 million in liabilities, according to a declaration of support filed with the other documents. About half of that, $15.6 million, is an outstanding United Bank loan balance, plus interest and fees, from 2006.

Charleston Newspapers’ second-largest liability is more than $12 million owed to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency intended to help guarantee retirement plans. That total includes the plan’s unfunded benefits, due and unpaid plan contributions, according to the declaration.

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