Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Singleton Watching 'SF Chronicle' Situation 'With Interest'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Singleton Watching 'SF Chronicle' Situation 'With Interest'

Article excerpt

William Dean Singleton, whose company owns nearly every daily newspaper in the Bay Area outside of the San Francisco Chronicle, remained mum on whether he would be interested in the Chronicle following Hearst's announcement that it may sell or close the paper.

With MediaNews Group owning a dozen San Francisco area papers -- including the San Jose Mercury News and the Oakland Tribune -- speculation has already begun over what he may do as Hearst reveals it needs to severely cut costs in order to stem some $50 million in annual losses. Hearst said late Tuesday it would close or sell the paper if it could not get deep concessions from unions and reduce other expenses.

"We'll just watch it play out," Singleton, who is CEO and vice-chair of MediaNews Group, told E&P Wednesday. "I am not going to speculate on what could happen. It would be futile to speculate on the future."

But with his Bay Area News Group papers successfully implementing many consolidation programs, from news coverage to centralized business operations, Singleton's chain is poised to takeover the Chronicle easily from an operational standpoint.

But, from a financial standpoint, he may be in no better shape than many other newspaper companies, and perhaps worse. …

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