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Copley looks to sell U-T

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RayKinsella, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. RayKinsella

    RayKinsella Member

    And it keeps going and going...

    From the Union-Trib web site.
    Copley Press explores sale of Union-Tribune

    SAN DIEGO – The parent company of The San Diego Union-Tribune announced Thursday that it has hired an investment banker to look into the possible sale of the company.
    Copley Press engaged the New York-based investment banking firm Evercore Partners, which also represented the publishing company in the sale of newspapers it owned in Los Angeles and in the Midwest in 2006 and 2007.

    In a statement, The Copley Press, Inc., cited the tough times in the newspaper industry as its motivation in deciding to explore the company's strategic options.
    “The last couple of years have been a difficult period for the newspaper industry, especially those in a real-estate dependent market like San Diego,” Harold W. Fuson Jr., executive vice president of the privately held Copley Press, said in a statement. “We have every reason to believe the business will rebound with the economy, but the uncertainties pose too great a risk to sit still.”

    Fuson said that despite the challenges faced by the newspaper industry, “The Union-Tribune's combined newspaper and Web site readership is very strong, reflecting the central role its news coverage will continue to play in the life of our region.

    “Home delivery subscribers are holding steady and constitute an indispensable resource for advertisers,” Fuson said.

    The newspaper and its sister publications are produced by the Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Gene Bell, president and CEO of the publishing company, released a statement to its employees stressing the strengths that remain in the industry.

    “Newspapers are not dying,” Bell wrote.

    But, he wrote, “We are caught up in a perfect storm affecting all media organizations dependent on advertising.

    “Part of it is secular – that is, brought about by forces that are fundamentally changing our business model and making it impossible for us to continue doing business as usual. The other part is cyclical, brought on by the collapse in the real estate market that is affecting the entire country, but is slamming Sun Belt cities especially hard.”

    The newspaper business, like other media industries, has been hit hard by changing media consumption habits and the migration to the Internet as well as a decline in advertising caused by the ongoing economic downturn.

    The Union-Tribune has the 21st largest circulation among U.S. daily newspapers, a ranking that has been fairly consistent over recent years. The paper's circulation has fallen in recent years, but still exceeds 300,000 on weekdays and 350,000 on Sundays.

    The paper is the product of the merged morning and evening papers, which were merged in 1992. The morning paper, the San Diego Union, began publishing in 1868; the evening paper, the Tribune, began in 1895.

    The Union-Tribune Publishing Co. is San Diego County's largest media company, its products reaching more than 59 percent of the market each week. It employs more than 1,000 employees at its Mission Valley headquarters and outlying offices.

    The company operates SignOnSanDiego, a top local news and entertainment Web site, with more than 3 million unique users in a typical month.

    It also publishes Enlace, a weekly Spanish-language newspaper, and Today's Local News, a free local paper distributed in the northern part of the county.

    The investment banking firm its parent company has hired, Evercore Partners, advises prominent multinational corporations on mergers, acquisitions restructurings and other strategic corporate transactions.
  2. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    I'm amazed I beat the intrepid Joe Williams in here. :eek:

    Here's your money quote:

    “We have every reason to believe the business will rebound with the economy, but the uncertainties pose too great a risk to sit still.”

    So, you panic and sell a product... produced in a rapidly growing area... that is still making money... at the bottom of the market.

    Yet another Rhodes Scholar-caliber decision from one of our proud MBA programs.
  3. I think this is more a case of David Copley wanting to get out of the business than anything.
  4. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    You're probably right, but why sell into a falling market?

    Even for a trust fund baby, this is mind-boggling stupid.
  5. Agreed. Maybe his health has taken a bad turn.
  6. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Might not be a bad transaction depending on which chain ends up with the paper.

    Of course, some situations produce more shit to muddle through than others.
  7. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Unless Copley figures it'll be a long time before the industry rebounds and wants to get out before it gets worse.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Maybe he doesn't expect this newspaper thing to rebound.
  9. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    It would take a lot of work, both in ideas and money, to get the U-T to the place it should be. Clubbiness is a big trait there, to the detriment of coverage and basic progress.
  10. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    Who's in position to buy the U-T?
    Singleton, who has many paper in the region, has no money.
    Perhaps Belo could look to link it with the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
    Lee owns a paper covering northern San Diego County, but probably doesn't have the capital.
    So, who else?
  11. Board Stiff

    Board Stiff Member

    They'll have no problem finding a buyer in these times.
  12. sportsed

    sportsed Member

    Freedom Newspapers would seem the logical buyer, though chances are it won't step foot into the game. Imagine the corner on the market it would have with both the Orange County Register and San Diego Union-Tribune just 90 miles apart. That'd be an extremely affluent demographic, though both papers have that without the other.
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