$3.8 million dollar man

That's how much MediaNews recouped in legal costs from its lawsuit against the Star Tribune and its since deposed turncoat publisher Par Ridder. That revelation is contained in the newspaper chain's quarterly financial report, and was first highlighted by the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

That's $3.8 million that the Strib's parent company, Avista Capital Group, might find handy right now, given that its in the midst of cutting three percent of the newspaper's workforce. This follows the voluntary departure of roughly 75 editorial staff-ers last year.

MediaNews, of course, is the parent company of the Pioneer Press. The financial report offers some other interesting nuggets about the newspaper chain's financial shape. Fourth quarter profits rose in 2007 by roughly a third, from $12.9 million to $17.4 million. But this seemingly good news was offset by the revelation that revenues declined significantly. Retail advertising was off by 16 percent, while classified sales plummeted by nearly a third.

All this once again raises the question: How long until we start hearing rumblings of a MediaNews purchase of the ailing Star Tribune?

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