News-Post families weigh advantages of restructuring

Ownership change possible, as is a joint venture


April 05, 2000|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

The company that publishes the Frederick News-Post newspapers and runs a cable telecommunications and Internet subsidiary is exploring a restructuring that could include a change in ownership, company officials said yesterday.

The Delaplaine and Randall families, which own the company, are talking with industry brokers about ways to reorganize the business, said Jake Tamse, company spokesman.

Tamse said a reorganization does not necessarily mean that the Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Co., which publishes the Frederick News-Post , and GS Communications, the cable and Internet subsidiary, will be sold.

Among other possibilities, he said, is a joint venture with a larger company in which some degree of local autonomy is retained. He said a decision on the restructuring probably will not be made for six months to a year.

"We're expanding at a rapid rate," Tamse said. "You have to look at where you're going and how you're going to get there. You need expert advice. The driving force is the need for continued growth."

Tamse said the company has simply sought the assistance of "two leading industry" brokers on its options for reorganizing the business. He said the company is not in talks with any potential buyers. The Delaplaine family has owned the publishing company since it was formed in 1883, and George P. Delaplaine Jr. is the current president and chief executive officer. The Randalls became part owners of the company through marriage.

Tamse said the morning News and afternoon Post have a combined circulation of about 65,000, six days a week. The cable and Internet subsidiary has 118,000 customers in four states -- Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia, he said.

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