Heartland Publications Files for Chapter 11

(Reuters) – U.S. newspaper publisher Heartland Publications LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, hurt by a fall in advertising revenue due to the economic downturn and growing competition from Internet-based alternatives.

As of Oct. 31, 2009, Heartland Publications reported about $134.3 million in total assets and about $166.2 million in total liabilities, court documents show.

Heartland Publications currently owns 50 community newspapers mainly in the Southern part of the United States.

The company said due to declining revenue, it had initiated cost saving measures and has budgeted a $1.3 million decrease in operating expenses for 2009.

For the trailing twelve months ended Oct. 31, 2009, the company recorded a revenue of about $55.2 million and it expects revenue for the 2009 calendar year to fall about 11.6 percent.

Most newspaper publishers including The New York Times Co (NYT.N), McClatchy Co (MNI.N) and Gannett Co Inc (GCI.N), have been reporting declining ad revenue and circulation on the back of a weakening economy and growing competition from the Internet.

The case is In re: Heartland Publications LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 09-14459. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

peHUB Note: Heartland Publications was formed in 2004 by The Wicks Group and Wachovia Capital Partners, “to acquire and develop community newspapers in selected smaller markets in the United States.”