February 25, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle In Trouble

Nothing new here. They have been bleeding red ink for years but when there is an Associated Press story that reads "San Francisco Chronicle May Close" you know things are near the bottom of the toilet tank for them. There is a remote possibility that the company that owns the San Jose Mercury News could be a potential buyer. The only way that could happen would be if no buyers stepped forward to purchase the paper and the alternative option of shutting down was the only other choice. Then MediaNews could step in and buy the ailing paper in order to keep the presses running. Maybe even pick it up at a firesale price.

MediaNews, the parent company of the San Jose Mercury news, borrowed $300 million dollars from the Hearst Corporation, which owns the Chronicle, to purchase the bay area newspapers that were put up for sale after the McClatchy company bought them from Kight Ridder. Follow that trail of bread crumbs!

I guess whatever the outcome may be could only bode well for the San Jose Mercury News. If the Chronicle shuts down that would be a tremendous opportunity to "poach" a subscriber base that no longer had a hometown newspaper. If they have a huge company restructuring with cutbacks/layoffs and downsizing it could affect the overall stability of their subscriber base and there could be some customer migration to the Mercury News.

Either way it will be interesting to watch and see the effects on the industry as a whole.

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