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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 23, 2010

Scrutiny of Advertiser sale urged

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye

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U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said the sale of The Honolulu Advertiser "will have major consequences" for the community and urged the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a careful review of the deal.

In a letter dated April 19, Inouye requested that the Justice Department ensure that the sale of Hawai'i's largest daily newspaper complies with U.S. antitrust law, saying it "could leave hundreds of workers without jobs."

"This transaction will have major consequences for the Hawai'i community, not only in terms of preserving the diversity of voices in the media, but also protecting jobs," Inouye said.

"Given the magnitude of the potential impact, I respectfully request that the Department of Justice carefully review all aspects of this transaction to ensure it is in accord with our nation's antitrust laws."

The letter was addressed to Assistant Deputy Attorney General Christine Varney, who heads the Justice Department's antitrust division, which is reviewing the sale of The Advertiser.

Star-Bulletin owner David Black announced in February that he was purchasing The Advertiser and would put the Star-Bulletin up for sale to satisfy the Justice Department's antitrust concerns.

Black has expressed doubts that the newspaper would sell since it has lost more than $100 million during the past nine years.

At least two potential buyers Texas private equity investor Brian Ferguson and a local group including state Sen. Sam Slom and Internet publisher Malia Zimmerman have submitted bids for the Star-Bulletin.