Hearst, MediaNewsÂ tango; butÂ who leads?
Paid Content reporter David KaplanÂ spotted this latest collaboration between my Hearst Corp. (which ownÂ theÂ San Francisco Chronicle where I am a Silicon ValleyÂ reporter) and MediaNews,Â the chain that controls most of the surrounding papers,Â including the Contra CostaÂ Times, Oakland Tribune, Hayward Daily Review andÂ SanÂ Jose Mercury News.
As KaplanÂ blogs today:
“Buried in newspaper conglom MediaNewsâ€˜s 10-Q filed earlier today with SEC: the newspaper group, along with The Hearst Corp., has bought 80 percent of online classifieds and software firm Kaango, for about $20 million. Kaango will be held by a newly formed LLC, which is 50 percent owned by each of the two.”
Kaplan adds details about the “$1.01 million (loss MediaNews reported)Â in Q3, compared to a profit of $13.3 million in the year-ago quarter” and that will connect back to my earlier posting about the Newspaper Guild trying to organize the new MediaNews bargaining unit in the East Bay (that prior posting).
But I float this item today forÂ a different reason.Â ItÂ occurs toÂ me that Hearst and MediaNews are moving toward a merger. That isÂ entirely speculative on my part. I have no inside information nor would I share it if I did. In this case, however, being uninformedÂ as to any futureÂ plansÂ that may or may not exist, IÂ feel notÂ merelyÂ free but obligatedÂ to make the following observations, given that any such combination would immediately decrease my bargaining power:
Media consolidation isÂ trendy asÂ attested to byÂ the FCC deliberations on cross-ownership;
Hearst and MediaNewsÂ began doing theÂ corporate tango when Hearst provided financial backing for the latest MediaNews expansion;
In 1997, privately-held Hearst Corp.Â merged its smaller,Â television group into a largerÂ publicly-tradedÂ television chainÂ now known asÂ Hearst-Argyle group (see timeline); and
A union ofÂ theÂ papers that serve the East and West halves of the San Francisco Bay makes perfect corporate sense, insofar as theÂ root definition of “corporate”Â is “united or combined into one” (definition).