Minn. StarTribune Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Many in the Minneapolis area call the paper the RedStarTribune for its often overbearing leftist point of view, but whatever the case of its editorial direction the paper itself is headed for court to file for bankruptcy. And this is another one of the nation's largest papers looking to go belly up.

The StarTrib (or Strib as its also called) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday.

Star Tribune files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The Minneapolis Star Tribune filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Thursday night.

The filing had been anticipated for several months. It follows missed payments to the paper’s lenders, and comes less than two years after a private equity group, Avista Capital Partners, purchased the paper for $530 million.

In its filing, the newspaper listed assets of $493.2 million and liabilities of $661.1 million. The company said it hopes to use bankruptcy to restructure its debt and lower its labor costs.

Like most newspapers, the Star Tribune has experienced a sharp decline in print advertising. Its earnings before interest, taxes and debt payments was about $26 million in 2008, down from about $59 million in 2007 and about $115 million in 2004.

In a statement, Star Tribune publisher Chris Harte said, “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 Star Tribune is ranked nationally as the 10th largest Sunday newspaper and 15th largest daily based on circulation. Its bankruptcy filing comes about a month after Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, filed for bankruptcy.

Just one more oldtimer in the Old Media headed for the dustbin of history, perhaps? Definitely an alarming trend for newspapers around the country.