- Hearst improbably put money into MediaNews, its direct competitor in northern California, in the hopes of reversing the almost continuous loses it has suffered since stepping up to buy the Chronicle in 2000. Instead of fixing the long-festering problem, Hearst became not just the biggest loser among the equity investors in MediaNews. It will be the only one.
Neither MediaNews chief Dean Singleton nor his long-time business partner Richard B. Scudder will lose a nickel in the bankruptcy, because neither ever put any of his own money into the company, said a MediaNews spokesman. But they aren't unscathed. Each of the MediaNews founders will suffer the complete loss of paper gains that at one point theoretically were worth as much as $500 million per man.
Last March, the Chron's Phil Bronstein and Hearst lawyer Eve Burton apparently convinced Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ask the Obama administration's Justice Department to loosen up on its antitrust rules for newspapers, paving the way for a Chronicle-MNG merger. But Attorney General Eric Holder threw cold water on the idea and has shown no public signs of changing his mind.