The Sun-Times Media Group, owner of the Chicago Sun-Times, today announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in the hope of “making the company fit for a buyer.” Unlike the also-bankrupt owner of its competitor, the Tribune, the Sun-Times has just one debtor: Uncle Sam. The IRS says the Sun-Times still owes $608 million in back-taxes and penalties, thanks to the malfeasance of incarcerated former owner Conrad Black.
The Sun-Times has no bank debt, mostly because it’s been unable to raise capital with the IRS debt hanging over it. Several buyers are interested in the company, says Chairman Jeremy Halbreich, whom shareholders installed in a board takeover last year. But Halbreich doubts shareholders will profit from any sale after the IRS has taken its chunk.