Tribune sells Connecticut papers again


Tribune Company has a new buyer for its Stamford and Greenwich, CT newspapers after a previous 73 million bucks sale to Gannett unraveled (5/29/07 #104). They are now being sold to Hearst for 62.4 million and they will be managed by MediaNews Group under its new joint venture with Hearst. The deal with Gannett fell apart after a judge ruled that the buyer had to assume a union contract at The Advocate, the newspaper in Stamford, CT. A Tribune spokesman told RBR that Hearst has agreed to assume that contract with the United Auto Workers local. The other newspaper being purchased is the Greenwich Time. Tribune will retain the real estate for a separate sale, as it had also planned to do under the previous sale deal.

TVBR/RBR observation: Just a few days ago Hearst Corporation finally consummated a long-pending deal to acquire a 31% equity stake in MediaNews Group’s operations outside the San Francisco Bay area for 317 million bucks. The deal had been held up for more than a year while regulators studied whether to allow Hearst to swap The Monterey County Herald in California and St. Paul, MN, Pioneer Press to MediaNews Group for the equity stake, along with 27 million in cash. MediaNews Group owns quite a few newspapers in New England, where Hearst-Argyle Television, of which Hearst is the majority owner, has several TV stations, so you might think this has FCC crossownership implications. Nope. Hearst got Class C stock in MediaNews Group. The voting Class A stock is mostly held by trusts for the Scudder and Singleton families. Also, Hearst-Argyle’s New England stations are in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, so there is no crossownership issue with these two newspapers in Southern Connecticut.