Nicholas F. Benton, the storied owner of the Falls Church News-Press, attempted to acquire the assets of the Washington Blade from the paper’s bankrupt parent company, according to a Nov. 17 press release.
The press release states that Benton’s bid to acquire the Blade was accepted but that the transaction never went through. “The Blade was closed without Benton’s advanced knowledge on Monday,” says the release.
“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.”
The release does not state how this deal fell apart. City Desk has begun making inquiries on the matter.
Cathy Renna, a spokesperson for Benton, says that Benton is not part of the efforts of former Blade staffers to launch a new Blade-like publication. However, Benton would be interested in talking to them, says Renna.
FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS OWNER CONFIRMS HIS COMPANY WON BID TO BUY & PERPETUATE WASHINGTON BLADE PRIOR TO ITS SHUTDOWN
Washington, D.C., Nov. 18 — 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.
The process to complete the sale continued through e-mail, telephone and mail contact until as recently as Nov. 6, just 10 days before the news came on Nov. 16 that the Blade and other Window Media publications had been abruptly terminated.
“Everything was in place, although moving slowly, to make the seamless transition we hoped for. But I remain unaware of what happened, and as a result of Monday’s events, the Blade is gone after 40 years of publication, its employees are out of work, and the nation’s and region’s LGBT community has been stripped of an invaluable institution.” Benton said.