Kimberly Blough 6:28 p.m., March 9
KUSI's McKinnon Still Interested in Union-Tribune Purchase, but Industry Turmoil Slows Any Deal
Michael McKinnon, whose McKinnon Broadcasting owns 82.5 percent of KUSI-TV, is still interested in putting together a group of buyers for the U-T, I have learned from a reliable source. Last summer, not long after the paper went on the block in July, he expressed interest in putting together a group of local investors to buy the publication and combine the new organization with KUSI's. He is said to believe that is still a viable model. However, the collapse of the daily newspaper industry -- the recent wave of bankruptcies and shutterings -- casts a pall over any deal. Any deal is unlikely soon, McKinnon is said to believe. He is said to feel there will have to be more cost trimmings. Also, an out-of-town buyer may be out of the question in the current turmoil. I have heard from another source that the U-T may suffer negative cash flow now, although it might have been slightly positive several months ago. The La Jolla properties may not be part of any pending deal. The Mission Valley property by itself may be worth $50 million, according to a real estate source of mine, but if the real estate were handled through a lease arrangement, the cost of the paper would probably be under $50 million.