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Moody's Investors Service said today that William Dean Singleton's Denver-based MediaNews Group will soon be in default on its credit agreement, and its debt load is nearly as bad as the one that pushed Tribune Co. into bankruptcy. Despite well-known financial woes, Singleton's company has been considered a candidate to buy the Union-Tribune. He has been seen casing the place, has other Southern California papers, and has previously made acquisitions with the help of healthy Hearst Corp. But Moody's says MediaNews's debt is about 8 times cash flow; Tribune's was 9 times. One of Singleton's crosses to bear is the Detroit News. There are rumors that it will join the Detroit Free Press, owned by Gannett, in a radical venture. One or both might end home delivery, except two or three days a week, including Sunday. The papers would try to steer readers to online editions. MediaNews owns the Denver Post. Its money-losing competitor, the Rocky Mountain News, has been put up for sale by E.W. Scripps. Singleton said this week that he didn't think the Rocky would sell. There is only a market for one paper in Denver, in his view.

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Comments

SanDiegan Dec. 12, 2008 @ 5:16 p.m.

Don : Is this the same Moody's that just upgraded the nearly bankrupt City of Sandiego's credit rating? If so what credebility does it have in any financial forum? Best

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Don Bauder Dec. 12, 2008 @ 7:27 p.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, same Moody's. But consider this: the rating agencies -- Moody's, Fitch, Standard & Poor's -- are paid by the institutions they are rating. Obvious conflict. In the case of MediaNews, Moody's probably could come at no other conclusion and retain some credibility. Best, Don Bauder

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SanDiegan Dec. 12, 2008 @ 9:24 p.m.

Don: Thanks for the focus, hope you will post something about the outrageous Moody's sanctioning of the failure of this City to even begin to address its huge pension obligations in an honest and open manner. Now, with Moody's seeming sanction, the "Ins" are beaming publically at how well they're really running the city when in fact we're closer to BK than the public realizes. Thanks! Best...

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Don Bauder Dec. 13, 2008 @ 7:17 a.m.

Response to post #3: Again, the rating agencies are paid by the institutions they are rating. That's your answer, no doubt. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 15, 2008 @ 6:47 a.m.

NOTE: THERE IS A GOOD STORY ON SINGLETON, HIS CALIFORNIA ADVENTURES, AND HIS DEBT WOES IN THE NEW YORK TIMES OF TODAY (DEC. 15). Best, Don Bauder

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