The announcement today (April 26) that Dean Singleton’s MediaNews will buy the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and Monterey Herald wasn’t a surprise — but it is a stunner that the SF Chronicle’s parent, Hearst Corp., will help finance the deal. If the deal is approved by state and federal authorities, it will mean that the two remaining major newspaper companies in the Bay Area will have a close financial relationship with one another. Questions it raises include:

    • Will the Chron and MediaNews work together to sell advertising? The problem national advertisers have had with the Bay Area market, is that to reach the entire region, they would have to buy ads in at least two newspaper groups.

    • What is the state of MediaNews’s finances if Singleton had to bring in a rival as his lender? Instead of doing this deal in cash, Singleton has worked with partners.

    • When the deal closes in July, Singleton will have two newspapers in San Mateo, two in Alameda and two in Pleasanton. Will he keep them all open?

[Updated Merc story on the sale] [Reuters: McClatchy is getting more for the papers than it paid for them] [Map shows papers controlled by Singleton, Knight Ridder]

SF Press Club News

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