Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
Dick broke the news layoffs-at-the-lowell-sun/ on Friday that the Lowell Sun had yet another layoff. “The Lowell Sun laid off a number of employees today – I heard the names of at least six news-gatherers – and another moved to the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.” News gatherers, that sounds ominous.
I have not been able to find an article on line announcing this work force reduction. I think it would appropriate to inform the readers of what is going. Last Month when the Herald lay-off 24 employees, the workforce reduction was announced on its Business pages.
The Sun’s parent company, Media News Group is in financial trouble as are many other media companies including Gates House Media (they own over 100 New England daily and weeklies) and of course, the New York Times Co. However, not much is written about the Media News Group’s problems. Here are some of the facts:
April 3, 2009 “MediaNews Group Inc., owner of the Denver Post, has reached a deal with its lenders and bondholders to delay payments on its considerable debt while it reorganizes its finances, according to news reports. As part of deal, the Denver-based nationwide newspaper chain skipped paying the principal on a debt payment to lenders that was due March 31, instead paying only the interest.”
March 20, 2009: “…Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services just withdrew all its ratings on MediaNews ‘per the company’s request,’ according to an S&P announcement. Another ratings agency, Moody’s Investors Services, estimated last December that MediaNews, with annual revenues of about $1.2 billion, is carrying $962 million in debt. At the time, privately held MediaNews vigorously disputed Moody’s estimate that its so-called leverage ratio was more than 8 times debt to EBITDA.”
March 18, 2009: “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service has lowered its issue-level rating for MediaNews Group Inc.’s secured credit facilities to CCC from CCC+.”
December 12, 2008: “Moody’s Investors Services on Thursday said that William Dean Singleton’s MediaNews Group faces increased risk of defaulting on its loans, as it downgraded almost $1 billion of the debt…Moody’s said it is concerned that the ‘downturn of the company advertising sales will be significantly more protracted than previously anticipated, further straining the company’s liquidity profile and heightening the probability of a covenant default’.”
June 6, 2008 “The Standard & Poor’s credit-rating service has lowered its assessment of Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. by two levels, from B-minus to CCC, saying it expects the nationwide newspaper chain to “pursue a restructuring of some kind. CCC is four levels above default as S&P defines it, and well into the ‘junk bond’ range.
MediaNews’ bonds lately have been trading at less than 50 cents on the dollar. ”
Back to the Sun staff, as far as I can tell my favorite reporters are still there; yeah!! And speaking of reporters, did you notice that a few weeks back Christopher Scott went from City Editor to City Editor/reporter and today he is back to City Editor. What is that about?
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