Newspaper files for Chapter 11
Less than two years after it was bought by a private equity group, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper, has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy laws.
“We determined that the filing was necessary to reduce our operating costs, restructure our debt and create a financially viable business for the future,” Publisher Chris Harte said in a note to readers posted on the newspaper’s website late Thursday.
Harte said the filing would allow the paper to conduct business as usual while it restructures.
The filing came a week after the Star Tribune and the Newspaper Guild ended talks, saying they were unable to agree on management’s request for concessions.
Graydon Royce, co-chairman of the Star Tribune’s guild unit, said employees were “very committed to keeping this institution alive.”
Avista Capital Partners, a private equity firm, bought the paper in 2007 for $530 million from the McClatchy Co. That was well below the $1.2 billion McClatchy paid for the paper in 1998.
In its filing, the paper listed assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million.
Like many other papers, the Star Tribune has been dealing with declining print advertising. Last fall the paper skipped a $9-million debt payment to save cash while it tried to restructure its debt.