But some observers say Gannett, owner of the Springfield News-Leader, is in a better position to buy the chain:
Yesterday's announcement was the company's first public acknowledgement that its Ottaway newspapers were up for sale.
In August, News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch struck a $5 billion deal to buy Dow Jones. Murdoch told analysts the purchase centered on the company's flagship, The Wall Street Journal, and that the Ottaway group likely would be sold.
That's why yesterday's announcement wasn't much of a surprise, said Colby Atwood, a newspaper industry analyst at Borrell Associates.
Likely buyers? GateHouse Media or Gannett Co. Inc., Atwood said."Gannett probably has deeper pockets at the moment, and it would surprise me less if they decided to go for the deal," he said. GateHouse, which had been on a newspaper-buying spree, might have a harder time finding the cash to pay for the deal.
GateHouse Media owns The Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, and numerous other publications in this area.