Manchester Mulls Expanding Media Empire

The new Union-Tribune consider purchasing the North County Times.

By Eric S. Page and R. Stickney
|  Friday, Dec 23, 2011  |  Updated 10:33 AM PDT
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Manchester Mulls Expanding Media Empire

Andie Adams

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Not long after buying the San Diego Union-Tribune, hotelier Doug Manchester is reportedly eyeing another newspaper: NBC 7 San Diego media partner the North County Times, according to the voiceofsandiego.org, which is also one of our journalistic partners.

The North County Times' parent company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month. Manchester told the online new site that he hasn't made an offer for the paper, but he did have this to say:

"Everyone is looking at it," Manchester told the voiceofsandiego.org. "It could add to our collection, and it could be beneficial. We're probably the logical buyers, but we haven't met with anyone on it."

Buying the Times would give the UT a stronger presence in the North County and would likely enable some consolidation between the two papers' operations, according to Manchester.

In an earlier interview with the voiceofsandiego, Manchester said he paid above $110 million for the newspaper, which he reportedly said was less than the asking price.

Manchester, referred to as Papa Doug by family, friends and employees, has a long history with the city of San Diego. Among other projects, He developed Navy property downtown into the twin towers of the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Manchester graduated from San Diego State University, donated $5 million to the university and is the namesake of Manchester Hall. He made news again for his support of Proposition 8, which prompted members of the gay community to boycott his downtown hotel in 2009. Manchester gave $125,000 to the campaign that would ban same-sex unions in California, saying he supported the measure because of his Catholic faith.

Earlier this year, Manchester sold the Hyatt for a reported $570 million.

In March 2009, longtime Union-Tribune owners The Copley Press announced they had signed a definitive agreement to sell the paper to private equity firm Platinum Equity. In 2010, Platinum and editor Jeff Light announced dozens of layoffs as part of a restructuring for the 142-year old paper.

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