The Times Rumor

There is still a sneaking suspicion among some observers - including nervous Seattle reporters - that the Hearst Corp., having put its P-I up for sale, will buy the Blethen family's Times. That could throw both papers into turmoil. Hearst said at the sale announcement it wasn't interested in buying the Times, and that ought to be that. But this is still a fluid deal, with Hearst holding back most the particulars on what it really will do under the globe. Maybe we will know more by this weekend. Hearst has paid the Blethens $1 million a year the last ten years for first right to buy a majority interest in The Times if it's put up for sale. Insiders say if that agreement is to be renewed, it should be done by Sunday, Feb. 1. "Hearing lots of Times rumors today," says a P-I staffer. But "that Hearst will buy them is not one

of them."

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