Knight Ridder to Get $262 Million in Detroit Deal


Knight Ridder Inc. will receive $262 million for selling the Detroit Free Press to Gannett Co., according to a regulatory filing Knight Ridder made Tuesday.

The nation’s two largest newspaper publishers announced the sale Wednesday but did not disclose a selling price. In addition, it was announced Wednesday that MediaNews Group Inc. had assumed ownership of The Detroit News from Gannett.

Knight Ridder disclosed the purchase price for the Detroit Free Press in a filing made Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Detroit newspapers say they will compete head-to-head each weekday and Saturday as morning dailies beginning in early 2006. The News, under its previous agreement, could not deliver morning papers to homes in metro Detroit.

The Free Press will alone publish a Sunday newspaper instead of the current joint paper.

In addition to the purchase price of $262 million, Knight Ridder said it would also get about $23 million in balance sheet adjustments in the Free Press deal, subject to final adjustments.

On the same day the Detroit deal was announced, Gannett and Knight Ridder also announced a swap of several other newspapers in Idaho, Washington state and Florida.

Under that transaction, Gannett exchanged The Idaho Statesman newspaper in Boise and two Washington state newspapers, The Olympian in Olympia and The Bellingham Herald, in exchange for Knight Ridder’s Tallahassee Democrat in Florida plus cash from Knight Ridder.

The companies did not disclose at the time the amount of the additional cash that Knight Ridder would give Gannett along with the Tallahassee paper, but in the filing Tuesday Knight Ridder disclosed that it would pay about $239 million in cash in that deal.

Knight Ridder, based in San Jose, Calif., also said in the filing that assuming all the transactions go through as planned, there would be no material effect on the company’s cash flows.

Tara Connell, the Gannett spokeswoman, said Gannett was not planning to make a regulatory filing on the transaction since it was not large enough to be material to the company.

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