Sep 21, 2008

No buyers market

With the San Diego Union-Tribune up for sale, reporter Thomas Kupper looks out onto the media market wasteland to see who might be willing to buy a newspaper right now:
How many people would be willing to buy a newspaper at a time when online competition is eating into the business, while the weak economy takes a further bite?

"It would be one thing if there were a success story to point to how one of these would work," said Mike Simonton, an analyst who follows media companies for Fitch Ratings in Chicago. "But there's not a template as to how one would operate in this environment."
In recent years, the big chains have relied heavily on debt to build up their empires; dwindling revenues and tightening credit markets make these types of deals less attractive. However, companies that are engaged in a pattern of "creative destruction," like MediaNews, might be willing to gobble up yet another dominant paper in the California market.

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