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Text: Blatstein group statement


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 10, 2012

PHILLY HOMETOWN MEDIA, LLC, which on Monday, February 6th announced its intention to pursue an acquisition of some or all of the assets of Philadelphia Media Network, Inc. ("PMN") today set forth its intended plan of action in the event that the PMN ownership group declines to engage in substantive discussions with Philly Hometown Media, LLC.

"We remain perplexed as to why the out-of-town hedge funds which own the assets of PMN seem uninterested in hearing our ideas, or those of Raymond Perelman, concerning ways to grow the value of the print and digital content to the public as well as our ideas on valuation of the assets of PMN," noted Bart Blatstein one of the founding members of Philly Hometown Media. "The startling and unprecedented events of the last few days at the Inquirer and Daily News relating to censorship of coverage of our offer has caused distrust and anger among journalists locally and nationwide."

"We hope to be invited to join a discussion of a consensual transaction with the sellers of the PMN assets. However, the events of the last few days have dictated our course of action, regardless of whether that process is made available to us or not. We have been heartened by the support and encouragement we have received from dozens of present and former PMN reporters, management and staff. They believe, as do we, that the damage that PMN has inflicted on itself may be permanent. Accordingly, today we are announcing our intention, should we not be successful in acquiring the PMN assets, to explore the development of a new and competing digital and print publication."

"The dozens of highly skilled and experienced journalists who have been forced into early retirement by PMN and its predecessors along with those talented and motivated professionals who no longer see a future at PMN provide an immediately available source of reporting and editorial talent. It may well be that Philadelphia has been a one company newspaper town for too long. Our preliminary modeling indicates that this venture would be successful. Prior attempts at competition have been frustrated by a lack of committed long term capital. Philly Hometown Media suffers from no such disability."

"We have examined the excess capacity that currently exists relating to production and distribution facilities and are confident that we can make appropriate arrangements for the production and delivery of our products. Our current timeline suggests that our digital publication would be available within five months with print following three months later. Journalists all over the region are demanding an alternative venue for themselves and their readers, a venue whose credibility is not impacted by political considerations", Blatstein continued. "We had hoped to have the opportunity to make PMN and its constituent assets that venue. If its owners are disinterested in making that available to the citizens of this region, then we will do so on our own. The individual and collective professional histories of the members of Philly Hometown Media demonstrate that their commitment to succeed should not be questioned."

Philly Hometown Media also announced today that noted philanthropist Raymond Perelman advised it this morning that he shares Philly Hometown Media's concerns and that he remains committed to preserving PMN for Philadelphia.