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Hearst seeks 'significant' cost savings

Perhaps it is just a bargaining tactic with the unions, but Hearst Corp. issued a statement this afternoon saying that if it couldn’t get “significant” cost savings at the Chronicle, the paper would be put up for sale and, if no buyer comes forward, the paper would be closed.

Hearst is in the process of closing its Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which has lost money since 2000, and the company has lost millions at the Chronicle.

The company did not specify the size of the staff reductions or the nature of the other cost-savings measures it has in mind.

Here’s the statement:

At about the same time Hearst issued that statement, the Chron posted a story at SFGate saying management will immediately seek discussions with the Northern California Media Workers Guild, Local 39521, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853, which represent the majority of workers at the Chronicle.

The article also notes that the expense of producing and delivering the newspaper to a seven-day subscriber is more than double the $7.75 weekly cost to subscribe.

Publisher Frank Vega said the challenge the Chronicle faces is bringing its revenue into balance with expenses so that the paper can at least break even.

UPDATE, 4 P.M.: Here’s the memo that was sent to Chron employees today:

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