Responding to rumors that U-T San Diego is for sale, the media company’s CEO says the newspaper is still in an “acquisitive mode.”

John Lynch, the chief executive, said via email: “In the past 2.5 years the UT has acquired the North County Times, the Mainstreet Community Newspapers, was the high bidder on the Boston Globe, and bid over $1b on a large publishing group.”

Ken Doctor’s Newsonomics blog logo. Image from newsonomics.com

Replying to a Times of San Diego inquiry, Lynch said his company doesn’t comment on specific targets, but that “the UT continues to be in an acquisitive mode.”

Last week, respected media columnist Ken Doctor wrote in his Newsonomics blog:

“In San Diego, word on the business street, now rebounding among a number of daily publishers around the country, is that the ownership of … U-T San Diego wants out. That’s right: Rumor has it that flamboyant owner Papa Doug Manchester … wants to sell. His sometimes-CEO John Lynch has been assigned the task of finding a buyer, that rumor says. Lynch has previously talked publicly about wanting to buy more papers.”

Doctor has not responded to an inquiry about the sources of the rumor.

But one channel was former U-T business columnist Don Bauder, who now blogs for the San Diego Reader.

“There IS a rumor that Lynch’s assignment is to sell the paper” based in Mission Valley, Bauder said via email. “Recently, the company has finally admitted its results are disappointing. That’s one thing that makes the rumor credible. But also credible is the rumor that Manchester still wants to expand in the newspaper business. I told that to Doctor, and have suggested both scenarios could be true on my blog.”

Joe Guerin, editor of The Daily Transcript, which covers business and legal affairs from its downtown base, says he also has heard the U-T sale rumors, but has “no idea of the source.”

Manchester and Lynch bought The San Diego Union-Tribune in late 2011 and later added the North County Times, which was folded into the renamed U-T San Diego in early 2013. Manchester’s 2013 bid for the Boston Globe was rebuffed.

Bauder defends his reporting and cited earlier stories.

“I don’t have a problem with rumors if they are credible, and they are identified as rumors,” he says. “One rumor I printed was that Papa Doug was going to buy the U-T. Some people screamed rumor-mongering and kept screaming even after he announced he was buying it.”

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