Saturday, August 9, 2008

Singleton gets help from 'partner' Hearst

The Bay Area's two big newspaper companies have teamed up to do another deal. This time Hearst Corp., owner of the Chronicle, is paying Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group an undisclosed amount for the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport and seven weekly newspapers in the state.

"We are selling the Connecticut Post to Hearst and paying down a lot of debt," said Singleton, chief executive of MNG, according to a report in the Connecticut Post.

Hearst will also be taking over the management of a number of Connecticut newspapers it owns but MediaNews had operated.

Speaking for Hearst about the deal was Frank Bennack Jr., who has returned to the helm of the company after the resignation of CEO Victor Ganzi in June. Ganzi resigned following a dispute with the company's trustees. Bennack headed Hearst for two decades before Ganzi took over in 2002.

Bennack said Hearst will continue to be a partner and investor in MNG, according to the Connecticut Post article.

In 2006, Ganzi told The New York Times that Hearst had effectively purchased a 20 percent to 30 percent stake in MNG when it gave $263 million to MNG to help it buy the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other newspapers. To guard against Hearst or MediaNews getting a monopoly in the Bay Area, the Justice Department said Hearst could not own any part of MNG's assets here and that the two companies' papers had to treat one another as competitors in the region.

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