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Courier's parent company could be sold

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By The Staff

The family that owns Landmark Communications, parent company of the Columbine Courier, is exploring a sale of company businesses, including its weekly newspaper division and the Weather Channel.

Frank Batten Jr., Landmark's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement last week that the privately held company had retained JPMorgan and Lehman Brothers to help it look into possible sale scenarios.

"At this early stage, we cannot speculate on where this process will lead," said Batten, whose father helped build the Norfolk, Va.-based company after taking over as publisher of the local paper in 1954.

He declined to say why a sale was being considered. "This will all come out as this thing unfolds," he said. "This is day one of a multi-month process.''

The New York Times reported that the Weather Channel, Landmark's largest asset, could fetch as much as $5 billion and is attracting interest from parties including General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, News Corp. and cable TV company Comcast Corp.