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The Los Angeles Times adds a bit of context to the news that The San Diego Union-Tribune, a local newspaper, is up for sale.

The Times notes that Copley Press has sold its other newspapers and says:

“It’s not clear why they needed to sell” the remaining company, said Mike Simonton, a media analyst with Fitch Ratings in Chicago. But given the industry’s dour outlook, he added, “someone could have thought that even selling at today’s distressed prices might be better than what they might get in the future.”

Potential buyers could be hard to find among financial investors and debt-laden newspaper chains, Simonton said. A wealthy local investor could emerge, but it’s unclear whether banks bitten by the mortgage crisis would help finance a newspaper purchase.

The Times also cites the U-T as employing 1,241 employees. That’s down 13 percent from December, when a company spokesman told me the paper employed 1,422, before the most recent round of buyouts and layoffs.

ROB DAVIS

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