Knight Ridder Embarks on Stock Buy-Back

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(AP) Knight Ridder Inc., the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country, announced late Thursday that it plans to buy back 10 million shares of its own stock over the next six to nine months, a move designed to boost the value of its remaining shares.

San Jose, Calif.-based Knight Ridder, whose 32 daily newspapers include the San Jose Mercury News and The Miami Herald, said in a statement that it had already repurchased half of the shares it intends to take off the market under the current plan.

In a private transaction, the company on Thursday bought back 5 million shares from Goldman, Sachs & Co. for $312 million, or $62.36 per share. The rest will be repurchased in the open market.

With Thursday’s transaction, Knight Ridder has bought back 8.3 million shares, of 11 percent of its outstanding stock, so far this year. It repurchased 12.6 million shares during the previous three years.

The company’s board authorized the 10 million share stock buyback program on July 19, in addition to the 1.8 million shares remaining from the previous stock buyback authorization.

The company’s shares rose 82 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $63.18 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have traded between $60.09 and $71.07 over the past year.

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