Tierney loses Philly papers to lenders in bankruptcy auction

Brian Tierney has lost the Philadelphia papers to a group of senior lenders that paid about $135 million for the Inquirer, the Daily News and some real estate in a bankruptcy auction that concluded Wednesday.

The senior lenders were owed about $300 million, according to The Wall Street Journal, for debt they bought at a discount from the original lenders. They could not use the money owed toward the purchase price of the papers during the auction.

Angelo, Gordon & Co., an investment firm that is part of the winning group, has been a lead secured creditor in two other newspaper company bankruptcies: Tribune Company and The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune.

Tierney’s run with the papers started four years ago in March 2006, when Knight Ridder sold its newspapers to McClatchy, which then put 12 papers up for sale, including the Inquirer and the Daily News.

That same month, Tierney declared his interest in the papers, which he purchased for $562 million the following May.

Tierney took over as publisher in September, and soon after began a round of union negotiations that were resolved not too long after Bill Marimow was named editor of the Inquirer.

Tierney was upbeat about the papers’ prospects a year after buying them, but just one year later, in June 2008, it was clear the debt burden was becoming overwhelming.

In February 2009, Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC declared bankruptcy.

Wednesday’s sale will be finalized on May 25 when the winning company presents its plan for emerging from bankruptcy during a confirmation hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Raslavich in Philadelphia.

Tierney spoke briefly with reporters immediately after the auction ended, praising the local investors and expressing pride in “the highest price paid for a newspaper in quite a long time.”

Below is a detailed time line of events leading up to this week’s auction, with links to Poynter Online coverage.

Bankruptcy auction

4/29/2010 Winning bid for Philly papers was tens of millions more than most expected
4/28/2010 Politicians, media observers on the Philly newspapers sale
4/27/2010 Philadelphia newspapers auction set for this morning
4/26/2010 Burkle out, Perelmans in as bidders for Philly papers
4/24/2010 Burkle among those bidding for Philly newspapers
4/16/2010 Philly papers’ lenders told to produce taping incident documents
4/12/2010 Tierney: ‘Secretive’ hedge fund wants to control news in three cities
4/8/2010 Court rejects request to delay April 27 Philadelphia Newspapers auction
3/31/2010 Owner of Philly papers gets more time to repay loan
3/23/2010 ‘Credit bid’ ruling expected to boost interest in Philly papers
3/22/2010 Court rules against Philadelphia Newspapers creditors
2/22/2010 Bankruptcy case has cost Philadelphia Media Holdings $26M in past year
2/5/2010 Hedge-fund creditors win round in Philly newspapers bankruptcy case
1/29/2010 Canadian investment firm eyes Philadelphia dailies
11/18/2009 Philly newspapers postpone auction until court rules on credit bidding
11/11/2009 Philly newspapers’ creditors want auction postponed
11/10/2009 Judge bars credit bid in Philly newspapers auction
10/29/2009 Philly papers expect 20.6% revenue decline this year
10/28/2009 Philly papers’ senior lenders reject plan to settle debt
10/27/2009 Philly newspapers’ latest offer may not be enough to settle debt
10/21/2009 Investors allied with Tierney add $20M to their offer for Philly papers
10/20/2009 No progress in Philly newspapers contract talks
10/8/2009 Philly papers lose fight to bar lenders from using debt to bid on company
10/1/2009 Lessons to be gleaned from the Philly newspapers saga
9/28/2009 Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. objects to Philly papers’ bankruptcy plan
9/25/2009 Philly union: Management’s proposals would gut our contract
9/16/2009 A Peek at the Private Equity Playbook for Running Newspapers
9/16/2009 Philly papers, creditors in accord on short-term financing
9/14/2009 Philanthropist says he’s a potential Philly newspapers investor
9/4/2009 Tierney’s crusade to rescue Philly papers faces deadline
9/3/2009 Philly papers’ creditors want “Keep it Local” campaign halted
8/30/2009 Philly papers, creditors announce a series of accords
8/28/2009 Philly papers, creditors try to resolve complicated interim financing plan
8/28/2009       Tierney Tries Twitter, Facebook, PR Campaign to Keep Philadelphia Papers


Bankruptcy reaction

8/20/2009 Philadelphia newspapers file reorganization plan
8/18/2009 Gov. Rendell to Bloomberg: Why don’t you buy Philly’s newspapers?
8/15/2009 Philly newspapers want lenders to wipe out $300M in debt
8/13/2009 Tierney doesn’t regret his Philly papers investment
8/13/2009 Philly guild accuses papers of bad faith bargaining
8/12/2009 Philly papers’ creditors want current management replaced
8/11/2009 Philly guild rejects papers’ request to extend its contract
8/7/2009 Sokolove: Philly’s a good place to observe what appears to be journalism’s last stand
8/6/2009 Philly newspapers want reorganization plan deadline extended
7/22/2009 Judge attacks Philly Inquirer as he hands out light sentence
7/9/2009 One Investment Firm Plays Role in 3 Biggest Newspaper Bankruptcies
7/1/2009 Judge tells Philly papers’ creditors to share info about secret recording
7/1/2009 Why the Bank May Soon Be Your New Newsroom Boss
6/29/2009 Philly papers say they’ve been frozen out of secret recording probe
6/9/2009 Bunch: Philly papers need to go in a radically new direction
6/2/2009 Philly papers to charge for web content by end of ’09
6/1/2009 Philadelphia Inquirer celebrates its 180th anniversary
4/24/2009 Tierney collected $1.175M in salary and bonuses in ’08
4/22/2009 Tierney: Antitrust laws need to be loosened for newspapers
4/14/2009 Philly papers’ creditors offered $50M to bring the company out of bankruptcy
4/11/2009 Philly papers’ senior lenders want “independent oversight” imposed on CEO Tierney
4/1/2009 Some Philly union bosses unfazed by newspaper execs’ bonuses
3/30/2009 Philly newspaper union blasts execs’ “shocking” bonuses
3/30/2009 Philly newspaper execs got bonuses just before bankruptcy filing
3/25/2009 Benefits, Drawbacks to Nonprofit Newspaper Bill & Government Help
3/3/2009 Filing hints that Philly newspaper execs were secretly recorded by creditors
2/25/2009 Philly cops rethink libel suit against Daily News after learning about bankruptcy filing
2/25/2009 I’ll never close Philly Daily News, says CEO Tierney
2/24/2009 Philly news execs will roll back their 2008 raises
2/24/2009 Builder Toll on Philly papers’ bankruptcy: “I’m upset to say the least”
2/23/2009 Tierney got raises after demanding cost concessions
2/23/2009      Mutter: Bankruptcy filing could deliver deathblow to Philly Daily News


Bankruptcy declared

2/23/2009 Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News owner files for bankruptcy protection
2/5/2009 Philly columnist urges his publisher to charge for online content
2/4/2009 Beleaguered Newspaper Execs: Don’t Tread on Me
2/2/2009 Governor set up meeting to help Philly papers lessen debt burden
1/28/2009 “What’s really at stake for Brian Tierney in this newspaper deal is his legacy”
1/9/2009 What to Expect for Newspaper Companies in 2009
12/22/2008 Tierney: Readers say Philly’s papers are better under the new owners
12/9/2008 Philadephia papers to eliminate 35 jobs by Dec. 31
8/27/2008 Philly Newspaper Guild votes to postpone raises
8/25/2008 Philly papers target managers in new round of layoffs
8/20/2008 Philly newspapers had low 20% profit margins in early 2000s
7/3/2008       Philly Inquirer, Daily News may combine some newsroom jobs


It’s the debt, stupid

2/27/2008 Philadelphia Newspapers lays off 68 union employees
1/23/2008 Tierney to unions: Philly papers need to cut costs by 10%
1/18/2008 Report: Philly Inquirer, Daily News to raise newsstand price
10/12/2007 Tierney sees newspapers at $2.50 per copy in a decade
6/29/2007 Tierney upbeat about Philly papers a year after purchase
4/4/2007 Tierney predicts Philly papers will show circulation increases
3/23/2007 PMH’s Tierney aspires to be a corporate turnaround artist
1/24/2007 Inquirer boss: “We have a plan to turn this business around”
1/3/2007 Philadelphia Inquirer to lay off 17% of its editorial staff
1/2/2007       Several Inquirer reporters told their jobs are eliminated


Tierney, unions negotiate (part II)

12/22/2006 Philly newspaper worker suspended for anti-Tierney posters
12/19/2006 Newspaper Guild, pressmen at Philly papers ratify contract
12/14/2006 Philly journalists to vote Monday on “disappointing” contract
12/13/2006 Philly papers, Newspaper Guild reach tentative agreement
12/12/2006 Majority of Philly unions ratify contracts, Guild talks continue
12/8/2006 Philly papers CEO says he can “maximize” pension returns
12/7/2006 Strike threat “has never felt more real than this morning”
12/7/2006 Philadelphia Guild threatens strike after pension talks stall
12/4/2006 Philadelphia papers, Guild reach deal on non-economic issues
12/1/2006 Philadelphia unions blast guild for not agreeing to extension
12/1/2006 Philly papers boss reports “a great deal of progress” in talks
11/30/2006 Some Philadelphia unions agree to contract talks extension
11/30/2006 Philly talks might continue past Friday’s 12:01 a.m. deadline
11/29/2006 Philly Guild registers PhilaPapers.com in case of a strike
11/28/2006 Philly Journalists: Try a “Norg”
11/28/2006 Philly Guild to publish online newspaper if it goes on strike
11/16/2006 New PMH veep “has tremendous cost-management skills”
11/13/2006    Claim: Inky’s in a bind because KR refused to confront unions


Marimow becomes Inquirer editor

11/10/2006 Marimow: Inky can be the best newspaper its size in America
11/9/2006 Marimow warns Inquirer staff that “painful” cuts are coming
11/8/2006 It’ll be fascinating to see how Marimow, Tierney get along
11/8/2006     Marimow replaces Bennett as Philadelphia Inquirer editor


Tierney, unions negotiate (part I)

11/6/2006 Philly Inquirer editors told to prepare for 150 more layoffs
10/31/2006 Philadelphia Newspaper Guild agrees to contract extension
10/27/2006 Philly discovers local newspaper ownership isn’t a panacea
10/23/2006 Philly newspaper union’s radio ad blasts publisher Tierney
10/20/2006 “We are in a very difficult position,” says Philly publisher
10/19/2006    Philadelphia Newspapers, unions wrestling over key issues


Tierney becomes publisher

9/5/2006 Tierney takes publisher’s title at Philadelphia Media Holdings
8/1/2006 Publisher of Philadelphia papers quits to take U. of Miami job
7/26/2006 Publisher of Philly papers addresses rumors about HQ sale
7/19/2006 CEO of Philly papers is at his best when he’s under pressure
7/13/2006 Why won’t Philly papers’ new owners consult on editorials?
7/12/2006 Philadelphia Media Holdings, union to begin contract talks
7/5/2006       Tierney seeks chief creative officer for Philly newspapers


Tierney takes over

6/30/2006 New owners of Philly papers to spend $5M on ad campaign
6/28/2006 Tierney: Unlike the Inky, the Daily News knows what it is
6/21/2006 Philly papers’ new owners meet for first time, tour offices
6/6/2006 The Pledge: Philly Newspapers Bought by Local Big Shots
6/6/2006 Investors in Philly newspapers not looking for quick profit
5/30/2006 How Tierney and associates won the bidding for Philly papers
5/25/2006 Advice from a Reader to the New Boss in Town
5/24/2006      Bidders who floated plans for big cuts in Philly will try again
5/24/2006 New owners pledge not to interfere with the newsrooms
5/24/2006 Investors in Philly papers signed no-interference pledges


Tierney & associates buy papers

5/23/2006 McClatchy sells Inky, Daily News to Philly group for $562M
5/23/2006 Philly journalists hopeful new owners will keep both papers
5/23/2006 Deal to sell Philadelphia papers could be announced today
5/22/2006 McClatchy close to selling Philly papers to PR exec’s group
5/17/2006 McClatchy’s target price for Philly papers called ambitious
5/16/2006 Bids for Philadelphia newspapers due at 5 p.m. today
5/12/2006 Bidder for Philly papers floats plan for deep newsroom cuts
4/28/2006 Governor urges McClatchy to sell Philly papers to Yucaipa
4/27/2006 New York Daily News to take a look at Philly newspapers
4/25/2006 DiStefano: “It’s a little bit weird covering your own company”
4/24/2006 Canadian firms join list of potential bidders for Philly papers
4/17/2006 Knight Ridder reports sharply lower first-quarter earnings
4/12/2006 Russell: If one Philly paper has to go, make it the Inquirer
4/11/2006 Rival bidders for Philadelphia newspapers hire advisers
4/11/2006 PR man wants to make Philly Inquirer more fun to read
4/7/2006 New group joins the bidding for KR’s Philadelphia dailies
3/29/2006 McClatchy’s sale of 12 KR papers draws at least three bids
3/27/2006 Toll Bros. founder is “lead investor” in group eyeing Inky, DN
3/27/2006 What Philly residents would do if they owned the Inquirer
3/15/2006 Businessman wants to buy KR’s Philadelphia newspapers
3/15/2006 “Philly Daily News rocked my world like few other places”
3/15/2006      No constitutional promises of job security in the news biz
3/14/2006 Pennsylvania AG’s office seizes newspaper’s hard drives


McClatchy buys Knight Ridder newspapers, plans to sell Philadelphia papers

3/14/2006 Big Deal, Big Sequels
3/14/2006 Philadelphia Daily News staffers a little bit distracted, angry
3/13/2006      Read CEO Ridder’s FAQ, letter to Knight Ridder staffers
3/13/2006 McClatchy Details Plans for KR; Future Uncertain for Slow-Growth Dozen
3/13/2006 Successful bid represents a “remarkable triumph” for Pruitt
3/13/2006 McClatchy buys Knight Ridder, will sell 12 KR newspapers

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