Style for Sale 

Landmark Communications Inc. has hired two national investment firms to explore selling the company, which owns scores of media holdings including Style Weekly in Richmond.

Landmark "has retained investment banks J.P. Morgan and Lehman Brothers to assist in exploring strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company's businesses," says Richard F. Barry III, vice chairman of the company.

J.P. Morgan is advising Landmark on the sale of The Weather Channel, one of its largest properties, and Lehman Brothers is advising the company on the sale of its other media assets, Barry says -- including the Virginian-Pilot, the Roanoke Times and Style.

Lori Collier Waran, publisher of Style, says that readers, advertisers and other business partners can expect business as usual. "We just celebrated our 25th anniversary," she says, "and we're still going strong."

Frank Batten Jr., chairman and chief executive of Landmark Communications Inc., says that the decision to explore the sale of the company was made by him, with input from his entire family.

"There was a consensus of the board of directors to do this," says Batten, who has controlling interest of the private company. He took over the reins of the company, which now has revenue of more than $2 billion, in 1998 from his father, Frank Batten Sr.

Batten Jr. says his father agreed with the decision to explore options now. "There was no dissension," he says. "It was an emotional, difficult decision for all of us. There was a consensus among family members that this was the right course to explore."

Style Editor Jason Roop says the alt weekly isn't going anywhere: "Although I was disappointed to hear the Battens were exploring a sale, our readers will continue to get the best of in-depth, local reporting on news, arts and culture."

Last year Style launched Belle, a bimonthly magazine for Richmond women, and continues to publish Home Style, a monthly magazine about home living, in addition to a number of other specialty projects. It also publishes StyleWeekly.com.

Landmark's 2006 sales figures were estimated at $2 billion. Landmark is parent to nine daily newspapers and more than 100 non-daily newspaper and specialty publications.

Style is a subsidiary of Targeted Publications + Media, which is owned by the Virginian-Pilot. Targeted Publications includes more than 16 print publications, more than 60 specialty publications, a number of Web sites and a show and event company, and employs more than 200.

Style has 39 full-time employees. Its flagship weekly, which is a member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, has a circulation of about 42,500. S

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