The executive editor of The Washington Times says the owner of the financially troubled newspaper has reached a preliminary agreement to sell the paper to a company affiliated with the Unification Church.
The Washington Post reported that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Unification Church leader who founded the paper in 1982, wants to buy the paper back from his eldest son, Preston. The 90-year-old Moon gave Preston the paper four years ago, according to the Post.
Times executive editor Sam Dealey said late Tuesday that the deal is subject to a 30-day due diligence period. The sale to News World Media Development will be finalized after that, if all parties still agree.
Dealey called the agreement a "welcome development," and praised the newspaper's staff.
The conservative newspaper has struggled to stay afloat financially, cutting roughly 40 percent of its staff this year and eliminating its sports section. The newspaper's circulation is roughly 40,000, Dealey says.
Moon wants to buy the Times back from Preston, who has threatened to shut down the foundering broadsheet altogether, the Post quoted former Times executive Charles Sutherland as saying. Sutherland, the Times' former director of development and promotions, was laid off in May.
Dealey said he couldn't comment on the financial details of the proposed deal.
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