Cathy Renna reports that a Virginia-based company had bid on the assets of the Washington Blade and were in negotiations for takeover before yesterday’s abrupt closure of the venerable LGBT newspaper. Via email:
In response to media inquiries and an apparent information blackout by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Nicholas F. Benton, owner of the Falls Church News-Press, a Washington, D.C.-area weekly, confirmed today that his corporation, Benton Communications, Inc., had won a bid from parties that included the SBA in September to obtain the assets of the Washington Blade from its bankrupt parent company for purposes of a seamless perpetuation of the nation’s oldest gay community newspaper. The Blade was closed without Benton’s advanced knowledge on Monday.
Benton said he regrets that the negotiations to complete the transfer of ownership failed to be completed, and that as a result he is unable to carry forward the Blade, its legacy, its employees, and its service to its community regionally and nationally.
Benton said that, after responding to a request for proposal in early September, he was contacted by agents of the sellers, including the SBA, later in that month and told Benton Communications’ bid had been successful. Benton Communications won based on a number of factors, including: 1.the company’s record of 19 years of the successful management and publication of an award-winning weekly newspaper not unlike the Blade in the and in same region, 2. its stated commitment to perpetuate the Blade’s legacy, to offer on-going employment to the Blade’s existing staff, and to continue the Blade’s service to its readership and community of interest, and, 3. Benton’s own history of involvement and leadership in the Blade’s community of interest, including Benton Communications’ standing as an officially certified “LGBT Business Enterprise” by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. There was also a cash offer which the SBA confirmed that Benton Communications had the resources to cover.
Benton says the deal was still in progress as late as last week. So what happened?