MediaNews on 'negative' watch

On the same day last week that Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group was slashing and burning throughout its Socal newsrooms, the company was put on a "negative" watch status by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. That follows a Jan. 24 downgrade of privately-held MediaNews to "B" from "BB-minus," with S&P citing "heavy debt levels." The basic concern is that MediaNews might not make enough money to cover the covenants in its various bank agreements. Of course, MediaNews is not alone in its cash troubles; Morris Publishing Group is also on negative watch and Freedom Communications, parent of the OC Register, was downgraded to 'B+' from 'BB.' MediaNews actually reported a 33.9 percent increase in fourth-quarter net income, but much of that total came from the sale of assets and the resolution of a legal matter. Negative watch status means that "rating events and short-term trends [exist] that cause ratings to be placed under special surveillance by Standard & Poor's analytical staff."

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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