Word on the street - from several informed sources - is that Richard Connor will close the deal to purchase the Portland Press Herald tomorrow. He even held a celebratory open-bar gathering with Press Herald staffers at Bull Feeney's on Friday evening.
Of course, the celebrations are half-hearted. Yes, Jeannine Guttman is losing her job (which is not something we wish on anyone, it must be said, but if anyone was going to out of this deal it probaby ought to be her). But so are more than 100 union members. Also, the Press Herald's landmark building at 390 Congress Street will be put up for sale, as will its other downtown-Portland real estate. (That's how Connor plans to avoid taking on a ton of debt in the deal. Since it's largely debt payments that are killing papers - and that brought the Blethens to their knees - that's not a bad idea at all.)
If this deal actually closes, Connor will have his work more than cut out for him. He will have to reinvent a paper that has stagnated financially and editorially, is losing readers - but advertisers even faster, and is facing increasing competition in print, much less online.