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PASSINGS: Richard B. Scudder, Barton Biggs

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Richard B. Scudder

Co-founder of MediaNews Group

Richard B. Scudder, 99, co-founder and former chairman of MediaNews Group Inc., the nation's second-largest newspaper company, who also helped invent a process allowing newsprint to be recycled, died Wednesday at his home in Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

Scudder was born May 13, 1913, into a newspaper family in Newark, N.J. His grandfather founded the Newark Evening News and his father ran it. After receiving an economics degree from Princeton University, Scudder worked as a reporter for the Boston Herald, then joined the Evening News as a reporter in 1938. He took over from his father as publisher of the Evening News in 1952 and held the post for 20 years.

In 1983, Scudder and the other founder of Denver-based MediaNews, William Dean Singleton, began buying newspapers in New Jersey, Ohio and California. Their partnership eventually became MediaNews Group, a privately owned company with newspaper holdings that include the Daily News in Los Angeles, the San Jose Mercury News, the Denver Post and the Detroit News.

Scudder was chairman of MediaNews from 1985 through 2009. The company's 57 newspapers in 11 states have combined daily circulations of 2.3 million, making MediaNews the nation's second-largest newspaper company after Gannett Co.

Scudder served in the Army during World War II, earning a Bronze Star. He had learned German as a child and put the knowledge to use writing scripts for a German-language radio station to mislead the Nazis as part of "Operation Annie."

In the early 1950s, Scudder had a hand in inventing a process to remove ink from newsprint so newspapers could be recycled into quality newsprint. After being approached by a news dealer who came up with the idea, Scudder tested the process in his office and home before moving the research to university and laboratory settings. He was admitted to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 1995.

He went on to found Garden State Paper Co. and began operating a mill in 1961. The firm became one of the largest companies in the world to recycle newspapers into newsprint.

Barton Biggs

He predicted dot-com crash

Barton Biggs, 79, the former chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley who warned three years before the crash in dot-com companies that stocks were too expensive, died Saturday, according to a memo to employees from the bank's chief executive, James Gorman. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Biggs died after a short illness.

Biggs co-founded one of the first hedge funds, Fairfield Partners, in 1965. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1973 and founded Morgan Stanley Investment Management in 1975. He served on the bank's board until 1996.

Biggs retired from Morgan Stanley in 2003 and formed another hedge fund, Traxis Partners.

In 1997, during a long bull market for stocks, Biggs said: "Deep in the American psyche, along with motherhood, apple pie and the flag, is the belief that stocks are fabulous investments and that if you hold them long enough you can't lose."

He warned, though, that stocks in most parts of the world were already "very expensive."

In a speech in Tokyo on Jan. 21, 1999, Biggs predicted that a spectacular rally in Internet stocks would "come to a very bad end." The warning was blamed for pushing the Dow Jones industrial average down 71 points that day.

The most widely watched measure of technology stocks, the Nasdaq composite index, peaked on March 10, 2000, before losing almost 80% of its value over the next 2 1/2 years.

Biggs was born Nov. 26, 1932, in New York City. He received an English degree from Yale University and a business degree from New York University and served as an officer in the Marine Corps.

-- Times wire reports

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