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McClatchy buys media giant Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion

Written by: Staff

Washington, Mar 14 (UNI) Knight Ridder Inc, one of the largest media players in the US, was bought over by Sacramento-based media company McClatchy in a 4.5 billion dollar stock and cash deal.

McClatchy Co. said it plans to sell 12 of the San Jose newspaper company's 32 papers, including the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, previously brought out by Knight Ridder.

The 4.5 billion dollar deal also includes absorbing 2 billion dollars in Knight Ridder debt.

In addition to the the San Jose Mercury News, and Contra Costa Times, other newspapers up for sale include the The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News, and The Monterey County Herald in California.

The St Paul Pioneer Press is to be sold to deal with anti-trust concerns involving McClatchy's Minneapolis Star Tribune.

McClatchy called the papers terrific publications'' that simply did not fit into McClatchy's strategy of buying papers in growing markets. No specific timetable for the sale of the dozen papers was disclosed.

Among the papers it will keep are The Miami Herald (in Florida) the Fort Worth Star Telegram (in Texas) and Charlotte Observer (in North Carolina).

It already owns the Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Sacramento Bee (in California), The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington State, and The News&Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The sale marked the end of Knight Ridder, founded in 1974, which was created when the Knight and Ridder newspaper groups merged, eventually growing to its current total of 32 newspapers.

The deal also ushers in a new media landscape, both in California and across the US.

McClatchy, owner of the California-based Sacramento Bee and Fresno Bee, picks up the San Luis Obispo Tribune and will be taking over a company more than twice its size. It had revenues of 1.2 billion dollars last year, compared with Knight Ridder's 3.0 billion dollars.

McClatchy's oldest paper, the Sacramento Bee, was founded in 1857 and McClatchy grew to become the ninth-largest US newspaper company, with 12 dailies and 17 community newspapers.

Its newspapers have won 13 Pulitzer prizes.


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