While Hearst and MediaNews Group have told antitrust regulators that they are competitors when it comes to newspaper publishing in the Bay Area, the two companies and three others are talking about forming a national online advertising network, the Chicago Tribune reports. The other chains involved in the talks are Gannett (a MediaNews minority investor in its Bay Area papers), Tribune Co. (owner of the Los Angeles Times) and Cox (owner of KTVU Channel 2). The Chicago Tribune article says:
- “Newspaper executives struggling to find ways to compete against their new online rivals are increasingly coming to the conclusion that they may be stronger in partnership than they can be alone. Companies are considering joint call centers, joint printing facilities, common delivery systems — anything to reduce costs and increase competitiveness, sources said.”
On Oct. 25, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division refused to block Hearst’s purchase of 31 percent of MediaNews Group’s stock in holdings outside the Bay Area. The government accepted the argument by the two companies that they can still be competitors in the Bay Area newspaper business while operating as partners elsewhere.