Examiner, MediaNews to Partner on Bay Area Ad Sales Deal

Media mogul Dean Singleton is again seeking inroads to San Francisco's daily newspaper market, according to a report today in the Denver Business Journal.

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Will joint ad sales bring happy days back?
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Apparently Singleton's MediaNews Group -- owner of legion Bay Area newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, Marin Independent Journal, Contra Costa Times, and San Jose Mercury News -- is forming an ad-selling partnership with Philip Anschutz' Clarity Media Group, which owns the Examiner, a free tabloid daily distributed in San Francisco and San Mateo County.

This alliance, called the "San Francisco Bay Area Buy," will enable joint sells of ads to run in 14 of the companies' newspapers, according to the Journal. The idea is apparently to take on the ailing but still-dominant player in the market, the San Francisco Chronicle.

The deal is an interesting one, particularly coming on the heels of a failed attempt at a similar partnership between MediaNews and Hearst Corp., the Chronicle's parent company, in 2007. That agreement was scuttled after local businessman and activist Clint Reilly challenged it in federal court, alleging it violated antitrust laws.

Also of interest: Hearst owns a sizable share in MediaNews properties outside the Bay Area. As the Journal story points out, this deal will likely revive speculation that Singleton might be interested in buying the Chron, making his stranglehold on the Bay Area newspaper market complete.

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