• RSS Feed

The LinkUp Blog The Industry's Best-Kept Secret

July 1, 2008 / Toby Dayton

Star Tribune Fails To Pay Interest on Junior Debt

Avista Capital Partners, owners of the Star Tribune, announced this morning that they did not make their quarterly interest payment on the $96 million in junior debt that accompanied the roughly $330 million in senior debt used to finance the $530 million purchase of the daily newspaper. While CEO Chris Harte reported that the company has sufficient cash to make the interest payment, he stated that they chose not to make the payments as the company works through renegotiations on the terms and structure of the debt and the entire balance sheet. While Harte’s comments may or may not be accurate, the daily is most certainly now in default on a meangful portion of its debt and is one step closer to insolvency.

In the race with Chicago to see which metro market loses its daily first, Minneapolis has clearly taken a sizeable lead. Interestingly, just as Tribune’s fate might depend on the success of the Cubs and the value that that franchise might fetch in the market with cash proceeds being used to pay down debt, the Star Tribune’s fate is similarly tied to the Minnesota Vikings who are eyeing the paper’s land holdings in downtown Minneapolis on which they are exploring building a new stadium. Who would have thought that the demise of two prominent dailies could be such a ‘sporting’ event.