Chatham Wins McClatchy Auction (News & Tech)

July 13, 2020

Article by: News & Tech

Chatham Wins McClatchy Auction

McClatchy announced today that the auction held as a part of its court-supervised sale process has concluded with Chatham Asset Management the successful bid. Under terms of the proposed agreement, which will be finalized and filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the coming days, McClatchy will “transition out of Chapter 11 as it entered it: in its totality, as one company serving 30 communities across America,” said an announcement from Sacramento-based McClatchy.

The proposed agreement positions McClatchy to exit Chapter 11 protection in the third quarter of 2020, having achieved a resolution and restructuring of the company’s complex legacy debt and pension obligations, McClatchy says. The company continues to expect that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will assume McClatchy’s qualified pension plan, The McClatchy Company Retirement Plan. McClatchy is contributing an estimated $1.4 billion in pension assets to the PBGC.

The agreement will be subject to court confirmation, currently scheduled for a hearing on July 24, as well as customary regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. New Jersey-based hedge fund Chatham is McClatchy biggest creditor. The auction was on Friday. Federal judge Michael E. Wiles shot down a challenge by a second hedge fund, New York based Alden Capital Group, to Chatham’s bid. Among McClatchy’s papers are the Miami Herald, Charlotte Observer, Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Sacramento Bee. Ken Doctor has an analysis here: and Rick Edmonds from Poynter writes here.

Austin American-Statesman Moving Near Airport

The Austin American-Statesman is moving in 2021 to MetCenter, a business park near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The paper’s owner, Gannett, has signed a lease for more than 34,000 square feet of space at the corporate park, the paper reported. The paper’s current 19-acre site at 305 S. Congress Ave., on Lady Bird Lake, into set to be transformed into a mixed-use project with office, residential, hotel, retail and restaurant space, the paper said.

“It is bittersweet to be leaving the South Congress location after so many years, but we are excited to build out a totally new location and design in a way that better fits the needs of our more modern and digitally forward news and advertising operations, including state of the art video and audio studios,” Patrick Dorsey, publisher of the American-Statesman, told the paper. “The MetCenter keeps us in a very convenient location for accessing the downtown business district as well as to the growing suburbs and cities within our greater Austin coverage area.”

Better Newspapers Buys Douglas County Herald

Better Newspapers, based in Mascoutah, Illinois, has bought the Douglas County Herald (Ava, Missouri) from owner Sue Jones Curry and other shareholders, the paper reported. Better Newspapers is a family-owned company that operates in Illinois and Missouri. It now owns 25 papers in Illinois and Missouri, including the Ozark Horse Trader, the Mascoutah Herald, the Fairview Heights Tribune, the Troy Time-Tribune, the Scott Air Force Base Flier and the Nashville News. Greg Hoskins, owner of Better Newspapers, will be the publisher of the Douglas County Herald. Herald Editor Michael Boyink will fill the role of general manager.

Real Change, Other Street Papers Restart Print

Seattle street paper Real Change has resumed printing after being hit by the coronavirus crisis, the Seattle Times reported. The paper is just one of many street papers that have been struggling amid the pandemic.

“This has been the biggest crisis the street paper movement has ever faced,” said Israel Bayer, director of the North American bureau of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), the Times reported. Now 90% of the street papers in North America have restarted their print copies, the Times reported.

Torstar Bidding Likely Over

Over the weekend, NordStar Capital raised its bid to buy Toronto Star owner Torstar to $60 million (Canadian, around $44 million U.S.), the paper reported. The bid surpasses a competing $58 million ($42.7 million U.S.) bid from Canadian Modern Media Holdings.

The new NordStar bid has the support of Torstar’s board of directors, the voting trust of five families who control the Star’s A-class shares and Fairfax Financial, the biggest holder of B-class shares, the paper said. Under the terms of the revised bid, the voting trust and Fairfax can’t alter their votes to support any other offer, a source told the paper, essentially bringing the competing bidding to an end. Entrepreneurs Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett are the core of NordStar.

“I’m beyond excited, humbled and really looking forward to the Star being around for the next 100 years,” said Bitove, the paper said.

Siemens Partner Completes Goss Magnapack Upgrade

Recently bindery equipment and printing controller supplier ECS (Glastonbury, Connecticut) needed to retrofit a Goss Magnapak inserter. ECS serves many of the largest printers in the country. Turning to its partner on this project, Advanced Industrial Controls (AIC), a St. Louis area Siemens-authorized partner, ECS conducted an analysis and determined that a complete electrical control and motion upgrade was required, necessitating the replacement of obsolete and tech-incompatible components, software and HMI.

The obsolete controllers on the machine were replaced with an ECS eNews Controller for monitoring and control of the hoppers, downstream trackers and tracker control.  Interface to the new controller over Profinet was required to allow multiple systems and multiple sites to be interactively linked. Data downloads from a variety of open control interfaces on the line elements were necessary as well. These included Burt OCI, Omni-zone, SAMS, Prima, Flat File Format and DTI.

International Headlines

  • The owner of the U.K.’s Daily Mirror and the Daily Express is slashing 12% of its staff, BBC reported. Reach, which also owns the Daily Star, OK! Magazine and regional papers, said some 550 would be cut.
  •  South Africa’s Naspers is closing five magazines and a number of newspapers, Reuters reported.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have launched the #HoldTheLine campaign in support of Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa. Ressa is known for covering Southeast Asia for CNN and founding the Philippines news website Rappler. On June 15, she was convicted of “cyber-libel” with former Rappler colleague Reynaldo Santos Jr. They face up to six years in prison. The conviction involves a story from 2012, before the law was enacted.
  • Google has a free training program for small-to-medium sized news publishers that’s available in Europe and will be extended elsewhere in the near future, IANS reports.

More News

  • Beginning July 15, the Echo Journal (Pequot Lakes, Minnesota) will become a weekly with a Wednesday publication date, the paper announced. The change comes as sister paper the Brainerd Dispatch goes from six days a week of print to two days, Wednesdays and Sundays. Forum Communications owns the papers.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration has released detailed loan-level data regarding the loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The disclosure covers each of the 4.9 million PPP loans that have been made.
  • Flint CPS Inks North America, the North American subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Flint Group, has filed a lawsuit against California-based Trend Offset Printing Services.
  • Cloud platform Selligent announced Acceleration, ONE Marketing and Reply as the winners of the 2020 Selligent Partner Awards.——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

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