With New Owner, 'Chicago Sun-Times' Will Be Tech Buyer

By: Mark Fitzgerald Just before Sun-Times Media Group filed for bankruptcy protection at the end of March, it had contracted with Goss International to reduce web widths of its papers to 44 inches.

?Once we went into bankruptcy, obviously, that was put on hold,? STMG Chairman and interim CEO Jeremy L. Halbreich said Wednesday. ?When we are out of bankruptcy, we?ll be calling Goss again, because this is something that will save us money going forward.?

James Tyree, chairman of the Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, has assembled a group of investors who have offered to buy the flagship Chicago Sun-Times and its 57 sibling papers. The offer, which must be approved by Bankruptcy Court and could be challenged in an auction, has been publicly put at $5 million in cash plus the assumption of a little more than $20 million in liabilities.

But in an interview Wednesday, Halbreich said the investor group has already committed and raised ?significant additional resources? to invest in capital equipment at the papers.

One priority, Halbreich said, is an front-end advertising order system that he says ?will have all the bells and whistles.?

?The people who put together this collection of newspapers did a masterful job in putting together all these properties in one metropolitan area,? Halbreich said. ?But they did not a terrible job, but no job at all, in terms of integrating the newspapers.?

Advertisers who make buys in multiple STMG newspapers get multiple bills, he said. ?It?s lunacy, it?s something I?m embarrassed by,? he said.

Soon after emerging from bankruptcy, too, STMG will be looking to buy a ?new unified front-end system? for news and content, Halbreich added.


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