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Examiner sues Chronicle; claims illegal ad-pricing scheme to ruin its business

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This sound familiar? The parent company of the Examiner has sued the Chronicle, accusing it of predatory ad prices aimed at driving the free tabloid out of business. The lawsuit, by San Francisco Newspaper Company, which owns the Examiner, SF Weekly and the Bay Guardian, was disclosed by SF Weekly this afternoon. There was no immediate response from the Chronicle, the story says.

And yes, it’s the same sort of lawsuit that former owners of the Bay Guardian succeeded in bringing against former owners of SF Weekly. After the jump, an excerpt from the piece by SF Weekly’s Joe Eskenazi:

When advertisers purportedly informed Examiner executives that they'd received Chronicle offers too good to refuse -- and they could no longer work with the Examiner -- management at the papers started talking. Last October, SFNC President Todd Vogt met with the Chronicle's Frank Vega, Mark Adkins, and Jeff Bergin. The suit claims that the Chronicle executives professed ignorance of the alleged scheme.

In mid-May, Adkins, the Chronicle's former president, was transferred to Hearst's paper in Beaumont, Texas. This move was characterized as a "promotion" by Vega, the paper's publisher -- who abruptly retired one week later. Bergin remains the paper's vice president of advertising. All three are named as co-defendants in the case.

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