McClatchy Sells 4 Papers to MediaNews:
Six weeks after announcing a deal to buy the nation's second-largest newspaper company, McClatchy Co. has agreed to sell four Knight Ridder Inc. newspapers to MediaNews Group Inc. for $1 billion.
The four papers - three in California and one in Minnesota - are among 12 that McClatchy has said it intends to sell because they don't meet its acquisition criteria, which include being located in rapidly growing markets.
The deal announced Wednesday increases the profile and reach of MediaNews, a privately held company based in Denver and run by William Dean Singleton. With financial backing from Hearst Corp., another newspaper publisher, MediaNews will wind up owning the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Monterey County Herald and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
What does this mean for the local newspaper scene?
Singleton planned to be in St. Paul on Thursday to meet with Pioneer Press employees. He told the Pioneer Press that he intends to compete vigorously with the Star Tribune and plans to retain Par Ridder as Pioneer Press publisher.
Promises, promises. As much as I'd like to believe it, I remain quite skeptical. Here's hoping that Mr. Singleton proves me wrong. If he's looking for some ideas on how to make the Pioneer Press a player again, we are available for consultation.