Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Of interest to Pioneer Press fans

Posted by Craig Westover | 5:21 PM |  

MediaNews, buyer of MN, posts $3.6 million loss By Chris O'Brien and Pete Carey Mercury News MediaNews Group, which recently announced plans to acquire the Mercury News, said it lost $3.6 million in its most recent quarter as higher expenses and a softer advertising market took a toll. The net loss for the first three months of 2006 compares to a profit of $2.3 million the Denver-based newspaper publisher posted in the first quarter of 2005.

While the company is privately held, it files financial statements on a regular basis with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of an agreement with some of its bond holders.

MediaNews Chief Executive William Dean Singleton, whose company also is acquiring the Contra Costa Times and the Monterey County Herald, said Monday that he is shopping for a second home in the Bay Area. MediaNews already owns seven daily newspapers in the region. Singleton wouldn't say where in the Bay Area he plans to buy a home. He said MediaNews' corporate headquarters will remain in Denver, where he is also the publisher of the Denver Post, and his family will continue living there.

``I'm not leaving Denver, but I expect to spend a lot of time in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future,'' he said. ``I can't imagine doing this and not wanting to go out there and be part of it.''

In its SEC filing on Monday, MediaNews said revenues climbed to $208.4 million for the quarter ending March 31 from $184.7 million for the same period in 2005.

MediaNews' largest paper is the Denver Post, which is part of a joint operating agreement with the Rocky Mountain News, owned by E.W. Scripps. While the papers share business operations, they maintain separate newsrooms. The Post previously had announced plans to cut 10 percent of its newsroom jobs due to a weak advertising market.

In the filing Monday, MediaNews said revenues at the Post in the latest quarter had fallen to $98.2 million from $103.5 million a year ago.

``The results of the Denver JOA were negatively impacted by a soft advertising market combined with higher newsprint prices, increased circulation, promotion and delivery costs, increased costs related to the growth in its Internet operations, and increased employee benefit costs,'' the company said it its filing.

On April 26, MediaNews said it had agreed to acquire four Knight Ridder newspapers from McClatchy, including the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, the Monterey County Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. McClatchy announced in March that it was buying Knight Ridder but selling 12 newspapers, including the Mercury News.