Is E.W. Scripps getting serious about selling the intellectual property of the Rocky Mountain News?

E.W. Scripps has made no secret of its desire to sell the intellectual property of the Rocky Mountain News -- but the company hasn't done much since the tabloid's February closure to peddle these particular wares. That appears to be changing, however. In recent days, a number of potential bidders have been contacted on behalf of the firm -- a sign that the last details pertaining to Scripps' participation in the Denver Newspaper Agency, the entity that previously handled business matters for the Rocky and the surviving Denver Post, are finally on the brink of resolution.

When asked to chat about this issue, Scripps spokesman Tim King pointed to the mention of an intellectual-property sale in the press release announcing the Rocky's demise. Then he referred me to Bob Broadwater, head of Broadwater & Associates, a New York state investment banking firm that advised Scripps during its attempt to sell the Rocky and is helping the company with the intellectual-property matter. But Broadwater, too, offered no comment.

Less reticent is Kevin Preblud, one of three entrepreneurs behind INDenver Times, a proposed pay-for-play news website that failed to launch as scheduled when it only signed up around 3,000 subscribers, far short of a 50,000 subscriber goal. He says "an individual in our group" received a call this week about the availability of the intellectual property, as did at least one other person he knows.

Another party familiar with the potential sale is Brian Ferguson, the Texas-based investor whose group seriously considered making a run at the Rocky before eventually backing away. Ferguson and his fellows control what he describes as "a good chunk" of A.H. Belo, the corporation that owns the Dallas Morning News, and they're also Scripps shareholders -- and he continues to covet the Rocky's intellectual property just as much as he did at the time of a March 12 Westword blog on that subject. "We're not at liberty to discuss the exact nature of the process that Scripps has adopted," he maintains, "but it's safe to say we expect to participate in that process, and would like at some point to be the guardians of the Rocky Mountain News' legacy." He adds that "we've allocated some resources to the process."

At this point, no one's saying what the price on the tag might be -- at least not publicly. But there's a good chance we'll find out soon how many folks other than Ferguson would like to obtain the Rocky nameplate.

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