By paulgillin | March 18, 2009 - 4:58 pm - Posted in Facebook

Just one day after the closing of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer dramatized the industry’s misery, signs of hope have emerged in the apparent rescue of another beleaguered paper.  The San Diego Union-Tribune, which has struggled amid the plunging real estate market and generally sour Southern California economy, has been sold to an investment group that “specializes in acquiring businesses facing complex operational challenges in declining or transitioning markets.” The price wasn’t disclosed.

Future owner Platinum Equity will add the Union-Tribune to the list of the more than 100 acquisitions it has completed over the last 13 years. Little is known about the firm at this point (you’ll see if you visit the website), but its intent appears to be to stabilize the Union Tribune rather than to close it or sell it off in pieces. “We will bring a strong operational focus that helps ensure the Union-Tribune not only survives in this market, but thrives,” said Louis Samson, a principal at the company.

There appears to be some needed operational expertise on staff. Investors include David H. Black of Black Press, which owns dozens of community newspapers along with the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Akron Beacon Journal, according to a company statement.

In contrast, the Union Tribune was an orphan. It is the last daily newspaper owned by the Copley family, which once held nearly 50 daily and weekly newspapers in California and Illinois. Copley Press has been methodically selling off its holdings over the last couple of years and the sale of the Union-Tribune marks its exit from the newspaper business.

The U-T has a brief profile of platinum here, but it doesn’t add much.

The news comes on the same day that the Tucson Citizen, which had been left for dead by its own parent earlier this week, was pulled back from the brink by the emergence of two potential buyers.  However there is no guarantee that the negotiations will rescue the Citizen, which was originally planned to cease publishing this weekend.



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1 Comment

  1. March 19, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    This looks like the best deal in a long time. I think these type of buyers are the only hope for newspapers. A smaller company that might accept a 5 to 10-percent profit margin and be happy, as opposed to the greedy corporations cutting jobs despite 20-percent profit margins.

    Posted by Newspaper Fan