Friday, October 5, 2007

Did Singleton overpay for Bay Area papers?

Philip Stone of Follow the Media questions whether MediaNews chief executive Dean Singleton (pictured) would buy the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Monterey Herald and St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press if he had a chance to to it over again. He cites some evidence that suggests Singleton may have buyers remorse. Stone also warns that MediaNews will be doing more cost-cutting as a result of a negative report from the credit agency Standard & Poor's (see item below). Stone quotes S&P analyst Emile Courney as saying:
    “Although Media News has been pursuing cost efficiency measures for some time and expects to achieve additional cost savings in future periods, revenue declines have outpaced cost cuts during the past few quarters."
With "Lean Dean's" reputation as a cost-cutter, Stone says, "[i]f there was [ever] a red flag in front of the Dean Singleton bull, that surely must be it!"


Anonymous said...

How does Singleton keep his job? I mean his investors must be furious. Every newspaper he buys, he destroys. Same story in each town---he guts the newsroom, centralizes production with a co-located paper he owns, jacks up ad rates to chase away local businesses. Within a short time the paper is ruined. Why would anybody be so stupid to invest money with him given his deplorable track record?

Anonymous said...

McClatchy wanted to keep Contra Costa, but had to "package" it with the Merc in order to get a good price. Other prized assets like Monterey and St. Paul were thrown into the package to make it appealing. There still wasn't much interest because of the Merc's union problems, which are well known. Looking back, it would have been smarter for McClatchy to keep the CC Times, Monterey and St. Paul and give the Merc to the Guild.