Like the mythical bird for which it is named, the embattled alternative weekly newspaper The Portland Phoenix will live on, thanks to a deal finalized Tuesday to sell the paper to The Portland Daily Sun’s parent company.

Daily Sun owner Portland News Club LLC, based in Portland, has purchased the Phoenix and will continue to publish it with few visible changes, Publisher Mark Guerringue said Wednesday.

“The Phoenix is a brand,” he said. “We’re just going to keep it that way and build it.”

The deal was finalized Tuesday after two busy weeks of working out a sale agreement, said Guerringue, who would not disclose terms of the sale.

He said the Phoenix will maintain its current format but will be produced by a different editorial staff led by former New York Post reporter Dan MacLeod, who is from Maine.

The newspaper’s previous editorial staff left recently to help launch Dig Portland, a spinoff of alternative weekly Dig Boston that plans to publish its first issue next Wednesday.

Guerringue said the Phoenix had been somewhat neglected by its struggling former owner, the Boston-based Phoenix Media/Communications Group, and that its quality had deteriorated as a result. “We think we’re going to upgrade the content,” he said.

Phoenix Media had been publicly seeking a buyer for the alternative weekly since mid-October, when it ceased publishing a sister paper, The Providence Phoenix in Rhode Island.

Phoenix Media discontinued its 49-year-old flagship publication, The Boston Phoenix, in March, but said at the time that the Portland and Providence papers would continue to be published because they had lower cost structures.

In October, Phoenix Media executives said they were considering a proposal to sell the Portland paper to one of its employees. They later said the deal had fallen apart over finances, but did not provide any specifics.

The continuation of the Phoenix occurs just as Dig Portland is set to launch as a competing free weekly paper.

According to a news release from Dig Publishing owner Jeff Lawrence, Dig Portland “will be 100% locally focused and operated, delivering alt-weekly news, arts and entertainment coverage to a young demographic across print, digital, social media, email and live event channels.”

Both the Daily Sun and the Phoenix are free newspapers distributed through retailers in the Portland area.

Daily Sun publisher Guerringue also is the publisher of three community newspapers in New Hampshire, as well as The Northern Light, a free weekly paper distributed in western Maine.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

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