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Forum Communications CEO: Company not interested in Star Tribune purchase

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Speculation has surfaced in recent days that the financially distressed Minneapolis Star Tribune could be sold to one of several buyers, including Forum Communications Co., which publishes The Forum.

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"Not true," William C. Marcil, chief executive officer of Forum Communications, said Thursday. "We are not interested in buying the Minneapolis Star Tribune or St. Paul Pioneer Press, period."

The Forum was mentioned as a possible Star Tribune buyer in a column that appeared Wednesday in the online newspaper MinnPost.com. Since then, other news organizations have called Forum Communications to inquire about the possibility.

MinnPost media columnist David Brauer wrote about the Star Tribune's mounting financial woes, including more rounds of staff layoffs, and said a firm hired to help restructure the newspaper, Blackstone Group, is a "heavyweight dealmaker" and therefore might be seeking buyers.

Brauer went on to list possible suitors, including Media News, Gannett, Hearst Corp., and Forum Communications, which also owns multiple Minnesota daily newspapers, including the West Central Tribune, and 18 weeklies in the state.

It's flattering to be mentioned along with some major media organizations, Marcil said, adding, "I think this indicates we've become a pretty big player in Minnesota."

The possibility Forum Communications was eyeing the Star Tribune also came up in a conversation Wednesday when Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., met with The Forum's editorial board. Marcil's answer: an emphatic "no."

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