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Pirates owner Bob Nutting is high bidder for W.Va.'s largest newspaper

| Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, 1:15 p.m.
In a recent interview with the Trib at PNC Park, Pirates owner Bob Nutting says the team is not for sale. (Trib photo)
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
In a recent interview with the Trib at PNC Park, Pirates owner Bob Nutting says the team is not for sale. (Trib photo)

Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting is the high bidder for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia's largest newspaper, according to a story on the newspaper's website .

The Gazette-Mail's owners agreed earlier this week to take Charleston Newspapers into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice, which warns of the potential layoffs of more than 50 people, was issued.

Charleston Newspapers employs 206 people.

“Our hope is that Wheeling Newspapers will hire all of our employees,” Trip Shumate, the company's president and chief financial officer, was quoted as saying in the Gazette-Mail story. “Once free from the liabilities that have been holding our operations back, we hope that they will be able to maintain the high level of journalism our customers and this community have come to expect.”

Shumate could not be reached for further comment.

The Gazette-Mail and reporter Eric Eyre won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting last year for coverage of West Virginia's opioid crisis.

The newspaper was established by the 2015 merger of the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail.

Once the company officially files for bankruptcy, there is a 60-day countdown until new ownership takes over. During that time, a new company could step forward and outbid Nutting.

Nutting, a Wheeling, W.Va., native, is president and CEO of Ogden Newspapers. Wheeling Newspapers is an affiliate of Ogden. No one from Ogden was available for comment.

The Nutting family owns more than 40 daily newspapers, including the Herald-Standard in Uniontown, which it bought from Calkins Media in June. A month after that deal, Ogden laid off more than 30 people, including the newspaper's entire photography department.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones hopes his city's newspaper is able to avoid similar cuts.

“I don't know how you would do that here and keep the newspaper going,” Jones said. “I hope that doesn't happen. I can't imagine being without the Gazette.”

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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