By: E&P Staff
A federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday will consider an emergency order to block the sale of several former Knight Ridder papers to MediaNews Group.
Lawyers for Clint Reilly, the real estate investor and San Francisco political figure who is fighting the sale of the papers by The McClatchy Co., sought the order because they believe the deal is about to clear the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust review.
The temporary restraining order would stall closing of the deal for 10 days. The Sacramento Bee, in a story by Dale Kasler, reported MediaNews has agreed not to close on the sale at least until after the hearing Thursday afternoon.
Reilly is suing McClatchy, MediaNews, Hearst Corp. and Stephens Media Group over the complicated transaction that will leave MediaNews in control of the former Knight Ridder dailies in the Bay Area, the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, and Monterey County Herald. Reilly argues the deal violates antitrust law.
In the deal reached soon after McClatchy purchased Knight Ridder and immediately put 12 of the Knight Ridder properties up for bid, MediaNews is buying the Mercury News and Contra Cost Times, which it will then put into the California Newspapers Partnership it manages with Gannett and Stephens.
Hearst is buying the Monterey County Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, and giving them to MediaNews in exchange for equity in the Denver-based chain’s papers outside of California.
Reilly sought unsuccessfully to block a big Bay Area newspaper deal before. In 200, he sued to block Hearst to block a deal in which Hearst shed The San Francisco Examiner and purchased its former joint operating agreement partner The San Francisco Chronicle.