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Landmark moment as Batten family announces sale

Family-owned Landmark Communications, the US-based media conglomerate, has confirmed it is putting itself up for sale following reports that two investment banks had been called in to assist in exploring strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company's businesses.

In an article in The Virginian Pilot, the company's flagship newspaper, majority shareholder and Landmark chairman and CEO, Frank Batten Jr, said he had first raised the prospect of selling the $2 billion business at a board meeting last November. Batten Jr told the Pilot that it was "an emotionally difficult decision for everybody, including me, and especially for my father, who's worked in the company for more than 50 years."

The decision was approved by family members, including Frank Batten Sr, nephew of founder Samuel L Slover, without dissension. "There was consensus among all of the family members that this was the right course of action to explore," the Pilot said, quoting Batten Jr. News of the sale was announced to staff on 3 January.

Landmark's most profitable product is cable TV station The Weather Channel, which reaches about 97 million households and celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. It also owns Dominion Enterprises, a conglomeration of publications and websites, and a collection of newspapers and TV stations.

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