Corporate and local sources say Winona’s operations are not expected to be affected. The Iowa-based Lee is filing what’s known as a “pre-packaged” bankruptcy, where the terms are already worked out with key creditors. Essentially, Lee will borrow even more money to operate its 350 publications and get more time to make creditors whole.
Given that Lee has reported declining revenue the past three years, Winona’s operations could well be affected at some point.
Lee’s chairwoman and CEO is Mary Junck, who was the Pioneer Press’s publisher and president in the early ’90s. Junck was the one who borrowed big in 2005 to buy Pulitzer, Inc., which published the St. Louis Post Dispatch. It proved to be a spectacularly mistimed acquisition reminiscent of Avista Capital Partners’ acquisition of the Star Tribune. But unlike Avista’s Chris Harte, Junck still has her job.
Lee lists Winona’s daily circulation at 9,420, with 10,351 on Sunday.