James Rainey argues in his Saturday column that with the corporate owners of the Times, Register, Daily News and San Diego Union-Tribune each facing their own financial squeezes, the inevitable best hope is for them to stop competing. Rainey calls the Times and MediaNews, which owns the Daily News and nine smaller papers in the region, the leading contenders to acquire the Register from Freedom Communications.
Now investment houses that ultimately control the newspapers and local managers have come to the same conclusion: Their newspapers will survive, and possibly thrive, only if they are joined together under common ownership....
Executives in the thick of the [Register] deal expect bids to be submitted by early next month and a decision made not long after that.
The individual newspapers would maintain their identities, names, news staffs and editorial boards, in an effort to hold on to loyal readers. They would combine all other operations: ad sales, printing, distribution, human resources and publicity.
It's impossible to know how much of this talk is coming from, or endorsed by, the publisher who is the boss of Rainey's editor. The column notes that Tribune is in bankruptcy, but Rainey adds: "Tribune has demonstrated the capacity to make deals during the bankruptcy. In December, for example, Tribune Media Services acquired CastTV, a company that devises technologies for video search, indexing and data."
Previously on LA Observed
'Permanent' pay cuts at MediaNews papers