Jun 20, 2008

Debt troubles at MediaNews

Already on the analysts' short list of newspaper companies facing possible default, MediaNews Group moved a little closer to the edge Thursday with Standard & Poor's decision to cut the company's debt rating two levels to CCC.

From the Mercury News: The rating outlook is negative for the closely held Denver-based company, New York-based S&P said Thursday in a statement. CCC is four levels above default.

Business partners may not continue to support MediaNews if the newspaper market continues to deteriorate, S&P said. The company, controlled by William Dean Singleton, will be forced to restructure in the "intermediate term" at its current rate of cash-flow declines, S&P said. MediaNews is the second-largest closely held U.S. newspaper publisher after Tribune Co.

None of this is good news, of course, for the reporters and editors still working for the Singleton chain. Unless Hearst or some other company decides to ride to the rescue with an infusion of cash, or online ads start generating unheard of revenues, or Singleton decides to sell off a few properties, MediaNews will likely resort to further cost cuts to raise the cash needed to pay down its debt.

The Rocky Mountain News carried a response to the downgrading from MediaNews President Joseph "Jody" Lodovic: "We are in compliance with all our debt agreements and expect to stay in compliance in the future."

10 comments:

excelsior34 said...

That is not good and if I worked at LANG or any of their papers I would get resumes out fast.

pissy said...

Oh god, I am totally going to get fired. Fuck. Why didn't I go to law school again?

Anonymous said...

He's going to kill those papers.

Anonymous said...

He allready has.

Anonymous said...

Maybe killing the papers was Singleton's MO all along.

A lot of the money he has comes from rival corporations. Times Mirror gave him the money to buy the Daily News, and Hearst gave him the money to buy up the Knight-Ridder properties in the Bay Area.

Had Times Mirror or Hearst made a play to consolidate their holdings, it would have caused antitrust problems.

On the other hand, they can loan Singleton the money, and he is free to either grow his properties to compete with rivals ... or, he can deliberately run the papers to the point of bankruptcy and sell the assets to the bigger chain as part of a distress sale.

Anonymous said...

I've been saying that for three years now...



-w3

excelsior34 said...

He hasn't just killed them. He has murdered them.

Many of them are starting to read like bad college papers.

Anonymous said...

I write for a bad college paper, and am offended by this comparison

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on, people. MediaNews has some excellent journalists.

They just work for Associated Press.

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