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Journal Register Co. Files for Chapter 11

The owner of The Reporter in Lansdale, The Mercury in Pottstown and The Times Herald in Norristown will be sold promptly, according to reports.

Digital First Media announced Wednesday that its subsidiary Journal Register Company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the second time since 2009.

JRC operates , The Mercury in Pottstown and , among other local papers.

JRC filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and "will seek to implement a prompt sale," according to Digital First Media.

Digital First Media operates MediaNews Group and Digital First Ventures.

According to a press release from Digital First Media, the auction and sale would take 90 days.

Digital First has reportedly signed a stalking horse bid for JRC from 21st CMH Acquisition Co., an affiliate of the hedge fund that runs Digital First Media, Alden Global Capital LLC.

JRC will continue normal business operation during the sale process, according to the release.

According to a blog written by John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media, JRC had $225 million in debt in 2009, but was able to grow its digital revenue by 235% over the last three years.

While revenue was up 32.5%, expenses were down 9.7% compared to 2009, Paton wrote. Digital expenses were up 151% over the past three years, Paton wrote.

However, print ad revenue declined 19% in the past three years. Print ad revenue is what makes a newspaper profitable, and represented half of JRC's revenues, according to Paton.

Paton wrote that print circulation and circulation revenue also declined over the past three years.

Debt, Paton wrote, was reduced by 28% with JRC servicing more than $160 million of debt.

Revenues in 2005 were about two times bigger than projected 2012 revenues, Paton wrote in his blog. 

According to Paton:

"All of the digital initiatives and expense efforts are consistent with the Company’s Digital First strategy and while the Journal Register Company cannot afford to halt its investments in its digital future it can now no longer afford the legacy obligations incurred in the past."

Mohandus Frieri September 06, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Stan won't have to worry about a job. He's pandered to too many politicians. I think Corbett has something for him.
patchifier September 07, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Can't say this is particularly disappointing. Patch outdoes the Reporter by a long shot on local news, and just about everywhere else is a better source for regional/national/world news. Plus, as mentioned by others, the Reporter's website is awful. However, doesn't sound like they're actually going out of business - just going bankrupt so another arm of the same parent company can buy them - and very likely keep on doing the same thing as always, just with less paper product.
. September 07, 2012 at 06:28 PM
SFGRAD, yes the online editor of the Mercury is a scum bag. She is a right winger who would routinely not allow or delete anything that didn't push her party line while allowing right leaning posters to write anything, including threaten to shoot people! All of the JR websites are horrible. They take long to load and fill your computer registry with cookies and ad ware. I wouldn't be sad to see all fo them go under and maybe be replaced by real journalist!
. September 07, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Keep up the good work. These losers like SFGRAD (who most likely works the Mercury or some other JR rag) know that they have been replaced so they are trying to attack sites like yours which allow freedom of expression and option. F them!
LOL September 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
The Times Herald was purchased by Journal Register when Owner Peter Strassburger died back in the early 90's. The TIme Herald was an evening newspaper because we could not compete with the Inquirer in the morning. But Journal Register said that people don't read evening newspapers and that's when the subscriber's jumped ship. The TIme Herald I believe was the 2nd oldest newspaper in the country and the Journal Register ruined a very good newspaper. I worked for the Time Herald from 1981 to 1993. It's a shame that a very good newspaper with local township news plus good sports was destroyed by a supposed leader in the newspaper industry.

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