Journal Register Co. Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The Journal Register Co. filed Saturday for bankruptcy protection from its creditors and said slumping advertising revenue and circulation are to blame.

In the Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Journal Register proposed a restructuring plan in which it would cancel its stock and become a closely held company controlled by its lenders.

The Yardley, Pa.-based newspaper publisher reported $596 million in assets as of Nov. 30 and $692 million in debt, including unpaid interest. Revenue has fallen more than 20 percent since 2006, the company said in the court filing.

In the documents, company Chairman and Chief Executive James W. Hall said the recession had placed an even greater burden on an already distressed industry.

On Thursday, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and 26 of the company's 37 lenders agreed to the reorganization, according to a statement posted Saturday on the Journal Register's corporate Web site.

A phone message left for company spokesman Edward Yoakam at Journal Register's corporate offices was not immediately returned.

The Journal Register owns 20 daily and 159 non-daily newspapers and has about 3,500 employees.

In its filing, Journal Register said it serves greater Philadelphia, Michigan, Connecticut, the greater Cleveland area and parts of New York state. Its newspapers include the New Haven Register in Connecticut, a number of suburban Philadelphia newspapers and the Trentonian near Philadelphia.

Journal Register stock, which traded as high as $23.87 a decade ago, was removed from the listings of the New York Stock Exchange in April. It traded for less than one cent on Friday.