In an interview earlier this week about stepping down as CEO of MediaNews Group, Dean Singleton said his new position as the company's executive chairman would allow him to focus on "opportunities for expansion, which I have always enjoyed doing." And how: Today, Singleton announced that a MediaNews subsidiary had purchased Lehman Communications, whose properties include the Longmont Times-Call.
Rumors that Lehman would be sold have been circulating since last year, and MediaNews had always seemed the most likely buyer. After all, the Times-Call and its sister paper, the Loveland Reporter-Herald (joined by the Cañon City Record and other print operations), aren't far from Boulder, whose largest newspaper, the Daily Camera, is owned by Prairie Mountain Publishing, a onetime Scripps property that became a MediaNews branch after the 2009 collapse of the Rocky Mountain News. Indeed, Prairie Mountain is the name on the purchasing agreement for Lehman.
A short Times-Call piece about the announcement quotes Singleton as saying there would be no immediate staff changes at the Longmont paper, which will function independently of other Prairie mountain publications, including the Daily Camera. But sharing of editorial product and business expenses will almost certainly take place before long if another comment Singleton made earlier this week is any indication.
"After our restructuring," he said, "we have a very good balance sheet for expansion. And expansion, if you do it geographically, lets you consolidate a lot of overhead, which makes the businesses more efficient -- and that gives the core business a lot more value. But it also gives you more critical mass to create new media platforms. In terms of developing new media strategies, interactive and mobile and social media, the size of the platform does matter, and having a larger platform does offer some opportunity."
Comments like these are sure to create anxiety among Lehman employees, no matter the public reassurances. Here's the MediaNews Group release about the transaction:
A May 2009 post from our Media archives: "Q&A with Dean Singleton, MediaNews Group CEO and Denver Post owner."