Even Moguls Don't Want To Buy Newspapers Anymore

As newspapers crater, interest in riding them into the ground has cooled:

NY Times: The Chicago Sun-Times is the kind of trophy that once appealed to deep-pocketed buyers. It has a big audience in a big market, a storied name, and stars like Roger Ebert and Robert Novak. The Sun-Times Media Group, owner of the flagship paper and dozens of smaller suburban papers, said in February that it wanted to sell assets or maybe the entire company. The chief executive, Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr., said May 8 that “a large number of parties” had asked to see the books, and that the company expected to field offers by the end of that month.

Since then, silence.

This is no isolated case. While all publicly traded newspaper companies have seen their share prices fall in the last year — drops of 50 to 70 per cent are commonplace — some have tumbled so far that any number of bargain hunters could snap up a controlling interest, despite the credit squeeze. But they haven’t…


The weak economy and tight credit market have slowed buying in all sorts of media, but the drop-off is especially pronounced in newspapers. There have been isolated deals, like the sale of Newsday to Cablevision for $650 million this year. Other than that, there were just $250 million worth of newspaper deals announced in the first half of 2008, according to the Jordan Edmiston Group, an investment bank that closely tracks media deals.

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