The Pennsylvania company is run by the same firm that controls the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which says it's unaffected.
A newspaper company affiliated with the operator of the St. Paul Pioneer Press filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday and put itself on the sales block.
It's the second time in three years that Pennsylvania-based Journal Register Co. has declared Chapter 11, which allows a company to reorganize its finances. The Journal Register and Denver-based MediaNews Group, which owns the Pioneer Press, are both run by the New York-based management company Digital First Media.
The Chapter 11 filing will have no impact on the the day-to-day operation of Digital First, Journal Register or MediaNews, according to the blog of John Paton, the CEO of all three companies.
MediaNews publishes over 50 daily papers, including the Denver Post and the San Jose Mercury News. MediaNews and Journal Register "are separate companies," said Guy Gilmore, the Pioneer Press' publisher. The bankruptcy "does not have any bearing on the Pioneer Press."
MediaNews, the second-largest U.S. newspaper company by circulation, went through a short, prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010. But MediaNews emerged "in much better shape," with less debt as a percentage of revenue than Journal Register, Gilmore said.
MediaNews had long been run by Dean Singleton. About a year ago, Singleton stepped aside to become chairman, and Paton was named CEO of MediaNews on the heels of work he'd done boosting digital revenue at Journal Register.
Paton has been CEO of Journal Register since early 2010. Digital First is a management company that was created to run both Journal Register and MediaNews.
On his blog, Paton said digital revenue at Journal Register grew 235 percent from 2009 to 2011 and is up 32.5 percent so far this year. But the company's print advertising revenue -- still the lifeblood of newspapers -- fell 19 percent from 2009 through 2011.
Paton said in his blog that Journal Register "can now no longer afford the legacy obligations incurred in the past," noting that the company's defined-benefit pension underfunding liabilities have grown 52 percent since 2009.
Journal Register is seeking a prompt sale and has signed a "stalking horse" bid from an affiliate of Alden Global Capital, Paton wrote. Such is a bid is aimed at testing the market before an auction. Alden, which also has a stake in MediaNews, bought Journal Register last year.
Mike Hughlett 612-673-7003