Denver Post parent posts loss
Denver Business Journal, CO -
MediaNews Group Inc. reported a net loss of $3.6 million for the quarter ending March 31 -- down from a net income of $2.3 million for the same time last year, according to the Denver Business Journal. Media News is in the process of acquiring three California papers and the St. Paul [Minn.] Pioneer Press as part of the breakup of Knight Ridder Corp. MediaNews Group is the parent of New England Newspapers Inc., which owns The Berkshire Eagle, The Bennington Banner, the North Adams Transcript and The Advocate newsweekly.
The disclosure is contained in a Form 10-Q filing made by MediaNews on Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Although MediaNews is not a "public" company in the sense of having stock floating in public markets, it is required to file its results publicly because of other aspects of its complicated debt and ownership structure. If it completes the Knight Ridder purchases, it will become the nation's fourth-largest newspaper chain in terms of daily circulation. The company disclosed that it had $877 million in long-term debt as of March 31, as against $1.4 billion in assets, and $41 million in shareholders equity. The operating loss for the nine months ended March 31 was $16.4 million, compared with an operating gain of $16.7 million for the same nine months a year earlier.
The 10-Q makes interesting reading if you like the intellectual exercise of trying to understand multifaceted financing. MediaNews for several years has been in partnerships to own papers with Gannett Co. Inc., the nation's No. 1 newspaper publisher. At one time its Denver Post was part owned by another newspaper chain, and in its deal to purchase Knight Ridder assets, the 10-Q discloses, The Hearst Corp. is going to take an equity stake in MediaNews. Hearst publishes newspapers and magazines. In the San Francisco Bay area, some media watchers, including Bruce Brugman, publisher of the weekly Bay Guardian, are seeking antitrust scrutiny of the deal because Hearst owns the San Francisco Chronicle -- the only big Bay Area daily that would NOT be owned by Media News. Hearst also owns the Albany Times Union, so the T-U would now have an indirect ownership relationship with The Eagle et al.