Star-Tribune declares bankruptcy

The far left Star-Tribune of Minneapolis, the 15th largest newspaper in the country by circulation, declared bankruptcy yesterday. It's been intellectually bankrupt for ages now, so this comes as no surprise.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Barely 10 years ago, McClatchey paid $1.2 billion for the Strib. Just 2 years ago, they cut their losses and sold it to the buyout geniuses at Avista Capital Partners for 58% less: $530 million. Thanks to the huge debts taken on to buy the paper, as well as the decline in nespaper industry fortunes, the equity value now must be in the neighborhood of zero.

2009 promises to be the year of newspaper bankruptcy. What other papers will follow? The New York Times is denying that it will go bankrupt this May

Update from Ed Lasky: The NYT on the S-T bankruptcy:

Star Tribune management warned last month that it would seek bankruptcy protection if it did not win a series of labor concessions on wages and other matters by Friday. Talks with the major unions broke down last week and had not resumed.

The newspaper announced the filing on its Web site Thursday evening.

The publisher, Chris Harte, said in a statement, "We intend to use the Chapter 11 process to make this great Twin Cities institution stronger, leaner and more efficient so that it is better positioned for the future." ...

The Newspaper Guild released a statement after the filing noting that since the new owners took over, the paper's employees have made significant concessions and were prepared to make more, but it wasn't enough.

"It's unfortunate that a New York-based private equity company has put the Twin Cities largest source of news and information at risk," Graydon Royce, co-chairman of the Newspaper Guild said in the statement. The guild represents almost 300 employees of the paper, mostly in its newsroom.