Sunday, December 28, 2008

Internet publication says McClatchy newspaper in Washington may close down within weeks

John Servais, a contributing writer at NorthwestCitizen, an Internet publication in Washington, says McClatchy's Bellingham Herald may cease publication "within weeks."

Our daily newspaper may cease to exist within a few weeks. It may be sold to any of 5 or 6 other companies and be continued as a daily or perhaps a semiweekly or weekly. If no one buys then it may just end. That has happened to other papers and other cities....

Within a week or two, we should learn that McClatchy has sold the Herald building to a local developer. That deal is being put together now. The "plans" of McClatchy are to continue printing the Herald at the Skagit Valley Herald's new print facility in Mount Vernon. But, as of just a couple weeks ago, there was still no signed contract. I doubt it has been signed yet - and I doubt it will be signed. McClatchy cannot responsibly sign any long term contracts. I think they will declare bankruptcy in January.
One quibble: the Miami Herald is selling 10 acres of land, not a building. But the information about the printing arrangement with the Skagit Valley Herald caught my attention -- McClatchy announced that arrangement months ago. If the contract has not been signed, that would be strange. But would a pending bankruptcy prevent McClatchy from signing the deal? Seems like they have motivation to sign, since bankruptcy proceedings would just give them relief from debts. Maybe the other party is getting cold feet about having a business partner on life support.

Servais doesn't claim to have inside information and he may well be off the mark. But even though he had some minor details (the Miami deal) wrong, I'm not inclined to dismiss the author's conclusions.
Hat tip: Fading to Black
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually with a company that size they have to hire someone to handle a bankruptcy for them. Otherwise, they are at the complete mercy of court appointed masters who have the authority to say....FIRE SALE!

You'll know a few days in advance if that is the direction that they go.