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Negotiations still ongoing between E.W. Scripps, MediaNews Group over Rocky Mountain News

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"Texas Investor Brian Ferguson Plans Bid for Rocky Mountain News Assets," a just-published blog, notes that the aforementioned Ferguson has a proposal ready to go as soon as bidding starts for the Denver Publishing Company; the firm controls the intellectual property of the Rocky, which stopped publishing after the February 27 issue. However, Ferguson pointed out that E.W. Scripps, the Rocky's longtime owner, controls the timeline for such a sale -- and Scripps spokesman Tim King doesn't know when the auction will get under way. "Brian worked with our broker during much of the winter," King says in reference to Bob Broadwater of Broadwater and Associates, a New York-based outfit. "And he needs to continue working with them. But I don't have a timeline right now."

Meanwhile, King confirms that discussions between Scripps and MediaNews Group, which owns the Denver Post, are ongoing, despite the perception that everything had been wrapped up by the time of the February 26 press conference announcing the Rocky's closure the next day. "There are some negotiations that still have to take place," he points out. "We're still talking with MediaNews Group about unwinding the partnership. And we're still talking with our union members in terms of severance."

This last matter is very important for ex-Rocky employees. They're receiving pay and benefits through April 28, but two weeks after the announcement, they have no idea how much severance will be coming their way, or whether they'll be able to file for unemployment if everything isn't resolved by the time the paychecks stop. King, however, advises workers not to worry, calling the delay "standard procedure." Likewise, he emphasizes that the continuing nature of the Scripps-MediaNews parleys shouldn't imply that the deal could fall apart. In this words, "Even though the i's have been dotted and the t's have been crossed, these things take a while to play out. But the bottom line is, Scripps is leaving the Colorado market."

It just could take a while longer...

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