competing Examiner and take over the running of the Chronicle sp.
A SAN JOSE Mercury News story that "intense" negotiations were underway to shut down the San Francisco Examiner and set up a joint ownership of the San Francisco Chronicle with the Hearst Corp. drew a denial from the Chronicle president and a no comment from a Hearst spokesman.
The story by staff writer Miranda Ewell quoted an unidentified source "familiar with the discussions" as saying, "A discussion is underway to shut down the afternoon Hearst-owned Examiner but the issue is: Who will run the remaining paper? The only way Hearst will do it is if they run the
The two dailies have been in a joint operating agreement for 30 years. Under that arrangement, the newspapers compete editorially, but share business operations and split profits. The JOA runs until 2005.
The morning Chronicle, with a circulation of over 500,000, dwarfs the Hearst-owned Examiner, whose declining circulation has dropped to about 110,000.
According to Ewell's report, unidentified Hearst executives are "willing to fold the Examiner, take a minority equity position and grant the Chronicle a substantial majority financial interest. In exchange, Hearst insists on running the remaining paper."
In a statement responding to the Mercury News story, John B. Sias, president and CEO of the family-owned Chronicle said: "The Chronicle is managed by the Chronicle Publishing Co. and will remain so in the future. There is no discussion, plan or intention of relinquishing editorial or management control of the news-
Only the Hearst Corp. "can answer questions about its hopes and plans," Sias added.
Tom Campo, the Hearst organization's manager of press relations, told E&P: "We cannot comment on reports and rumors."
Asked if this meant the Mercury News story had no credence, he declined to comment on the report.
Ewell said in an interview that she was standing by her story. She described her sources as "highly reliable."
Rumors and reports of the sale of the Chronicle have abounded for several years with Hearst usually figuring into them. Ownership of the Chronicle Publishing Co. is spread among about 19 descendants of the DeYoung family who are divided on selling the company.
One of the main holdouts has been Nan Tucker McEvoy, who owns 26% of the shares and has vowed to oppose any sale of the Chronicle.
Recently, she was ousted as chairman of the board and lost a suit to regain that position. She was subsequently named as chairman emeritus, but with no voting rights.
This opened the way for the company's projected sale of its cable operation to Tele-Communications Inc., which is expected to take place in 1996 for a reported $580 million.
?("The Chronicle is managed by the Chronicle Publishing Co. and will remain so in the future. There is no discussion, plan or intention of relinquishing editorial or management control of the newspaper.") [Caption]
?(-John B. Sias, president and CEO, Chronicle Publishing Co.) [Photo & Caption]
By: M.L. Stein Chronicle president denies report that Hearst will close the