Ariel Capital Increases Stake In McClatchy

By: Mark Fitzgerald Chicago-based Ariel Capital Management Inc. reported Tuesday (July 10) it had increased its holding of The McClatchy Co.?s publicly traded Class A shares by about 50%, and now owns 22.4% of those shares outstanding.

Including the Class B shares that are not publicly traded and are largely held by McClatchy family members, Ariel now owns a 15% stake in McClatchy, up from the 10.31% stake they reported last March 31.

In the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing Tuesday Ariel said it held 12,743,178 shares in McClatchy, the nation's third-largest newspaper chain with properties including The Miami Herald and The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee.

In its previous SEC filing in March, Ariel reported holdings of 8,456,862, or 15.1 of outstanding Class A common stock at the time.

McClatchy stock, which was hammered on skepticism about the wisdom of its Knight Ridder acquisition, has found favor among some Wall Street analysts in recent weeks. It was talked up in a recent Motley Fool syndicated column.

Last week, Wachovia Securities analyst John Janedis upgraded McClatchy to Outperform "based on our belief that fundamentals have bottomed ... (and) that debt paydown will transfer value to equity holders."

At 2:10 EDT July 10, McClatchy (MNI:NYSE) was trading at $26.80, down 20 cents, or 0.74%, from its open. The price was about $2 above its 52-week low, and well off the trading range high of $44.95.

This story has been corrected. An earlier version incorrectly reported that Ariel had ?doubled? its stake in McClatchy. The story erroneously compared Ariel?s share of Class A stock, 22.4%, reported July 10 to the 10.31 stake in the combined Class A and Class B shares outstanding.


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