Will Guild Get Some of KR Papers McClatchy Is Now Selling?

By: E&P Staff

Once seen as a true long shot, the effort by the Newspaper Guild to purchase a few pieces of the Knight Ridder empire no longer seems far-fetched.

McClatchy Co. announced today it will sell 12 of the Knight Ridder papers in “low-growth” markets and many of them line up with the nine newspapers targeted by the Guild’s “worker-friendly plan.”

They are the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, San Jose Mercury News, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, Monterey (Calif.) Herald, and Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune.

The Guild has lined up the Yucaipa Companies to finance a deal to help employees buy nine Knight Ridder papers through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). If the Guild were successful, the deal would probably be structured with Yucaipa fronting some of the money for the papers.

“When it comes time to the Guild’s participation, money talks,” said industry analyst John Morton last week about the possible success of the Guild’s plan. “It really becomes a question of what sort of corporation the Guild is willing to engage in.”

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