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."

. September 05, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Good! Those scum bags decided that censoring their comments section was more important than doing actual reporting. I dropped my subsciption for the Mercury years ago and now get nearly all my local news from the Patch.
Mike September 05, 2012 at 07:58 PM
They always print bad things about everyone else, but never print any of the lawsuits that people file on them.
rofores September 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
"Digital First"??? They can barely run a web site! Their site is not only the slowest thing out there, but is 90% ads, 10% news! They are an advertising company, news is a secondary priority. If they were better at local news, maybe their readership would be up, and so would ad revenue. That would be to old school thinking for them though.
SFGRAD September 06, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Richard... "scum bags" ??? I wouldn't necessarily censor that comment, but then again it may say something about your command of the English language ...my goodness man, that isn't politically correct is it today? Also, if you're getting "nearly all" your "local news" from Patch, well, you sure have no clue about how much news you're missing. Mike... is reporting the news "printing bad things about everyone else" ??? And what specific lawsuits are you referring to against what specific publication ??? Rofores... do you know how many views/hits some area newspapers are getting on their websites ??? Obviously not. And by the way, I have no trouble at all with speed or finding what I want on their websites. Maybe YOU have a computer issue, not THEM. The news media has been making giant strides in "Digital First" which you could read about, but you apparently don't read too often. In case you haven't heard, circulation - or readership as you mentioned - is down significantly at every newspaper in the country. A couple of local newspapers mentioned above have actually been holding their circulation numbers, and some are actually making money ... despite what executives' relate to in regards to the overall corporate finances.
rofores September 06, 2012 at 03:35 AM
SFGRAD... You sound like you are employed by them... Defending a web site that currently won't let you get to page 2 or 3 of the news stories unless you choose to see more then 10 stories at a time. No computer issues here... Maybe it's the 25-30 ads on every page, plus the pop-up and pop-under ads that flood your computer that are slowing us all down.... kinda seems like their fault, eh? Not only do they have issues with their web site, they also have issues keeping track of "do not call," as they LOVE to see your info to their 3rd party "subscribe again" companies, then have issues tracking down what company they sold your information to this week to get you back on the subscriber list. I'm done with them once my current subscription is done.
Truth September 06, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Good riddance JR, the Times Herald has quickly gone downhill since they bought them years ago. The handful of times I tried to use the website I left in frustration, the volume of advertisements is ridiculous and so obtrusive it isn't even worth "trying" to read the articles. Its hard to read the news when the ad pop ups are crashing your browser or flash ads are blocking the actual article on the page. The prices to place a classified ad to sell a car or hold a yard sale is also just as absurd. I can only hope a responsible entity buys the Times Herald and revives it. I get my local news now from Patch and I hope it continues to grow, report real stories that affect the residents and continues to be a place to give the community a voice. Patch is the closest I have found locally to real Journalism and I am hopeful they will continue in the direction they are going and have much success. The world (and this town) needs reporters that aren't too afraid to rattle things up a bit and sometimes speak out against those in power when wrong is being done. Bring back real journalism.
David Curran September 06, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Maybe Rupert Murdoch, because of issues in Great Britain, will decide to expand his spy network to our shores and buy the paper. If he did, it would unfortunately probably elevate the remarks on the opinion pages.
Lee September 06, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Real journalism? All these digital news sources reprint press releases and certainly if they do attend political events, they're reporting p.o.v. is left. Investigative reporting does not exist locally, fortunately we all can do our own researching.
Tony Di Domizio (Editor) September 06, 2012 at 08:42 PM
In reality, we have PR representatives from all over the state log into the site and upload their own events, announcements, pictures, videos whenever they wish. That's the beauty of our hyperlocal website. All of our stories are published from an unbiased angle, as ethics requires. My colleagues and I will always be ready to hear any criticisms that may improve ourselves in the future. And feel free to post/comment on our Facebook page (/LansdalePatch) Thank you for reading the site.
Joe The Nerd Ferraro September 06, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Please DO NOT hire Stan Huskey - whatever you do...
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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