News

Sources: SJ Mercury sold to MediaNews

Palo Alto Daily News group also likely part of deal

MediaNews Group Inc. has emerged as the buyer for the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and Monterey County Herald, according to sources within Knight Ridder.

An official announcement is expected to come this afternoon.

The Palo Alto Daily News group and its four sister papers, a Bay Area chain of local tabloids that Knight Ridder purchased a year ago, are expected to be a part of the package deal.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that MediaNews, a privately held Denver-based company, was putting together a $1 billion bid for the three major Bay Area newspapers, and one in Minnesota, from McClatchy Co. The Times also reported that MediaNews was likely partnering with Gannett Inc. and Stephens Media Group for the deal.

Prior to the sale, MediaNews already owned the San Mateo County Times, the Oakland Tribune and 18 other Northern California papers. Across the Bay Area, MediaNews will now reportedly have a daily circulation of more than 800,000. Only the San Francisco Chronicle, with a daily circulation of approximately 400,000, will even come close to rivaling MediaNews for Bay Area newspaper dominance. Other MediaNews papers include the Fremont Argus, Hayward Daily Review, Tri-Valley Herald and Marin Independent Journal.

The expected announcement apparently ends an unsuccessful bid from Mercury News employees to "save" the paper. They were working with grocery store magnate Ronald Burkle and had hoped his company, Yucaipa Companies LLC, would purchase all 12 papers. The employees had set up a Web site, www.savethemerc.com, to rally community support.

At 12:30 p.m., MediaNews President Jody Lodovic would neither confirm nor deny reports of a sale. "It sounds like more rumors to me," Lodovic said.

Among media critics, MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton has a mediocre reputation. Prior to the sale, they predicted that the Mercury News would face layoffs and a continued thinning of its news coverage if MediaNews purchased it. Singleton's critics received new ammunition last week when the Denver Post, MediaNews' flagship paper, announced it was cutting 25 positions.

The Mercury News has suffered financially in recent years as the Silicon Valley economy lagged and online classified sites like Craigslist took away advertising revenue.

Knight Ridder, amidst pressure from shareholders, announced in March it was selling its 32 newspapers to the McClatchy Company for $4.5 billion. McClatchy immediately announced it would sell off 12 of the papers, including those in the Bay Area, to help finance the deal.

Last week, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced he was examining the sale "to determine whether any reduction of competition in those markets would be significant enough to warrant intervention," according to a statement.

Comments

There are no comments yet, please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Gourmet hot dogs, sausage food truck coming to the Peninsula
By Elena Kadvany | 9 comments | 2,901 views

Allowing Unauthorized Immigrants to Learn and Earn Legally Will Help the Economy
By Steve Levy | 33 comments | 2,333 views

College applications: round three
By Sally Torbey | 24 comments | 1,744 views

Is HBO's Silicon Valley Any Good?
By Anita Felicelli | 17 comments | 1,735 views

PAUSD Leadership Challenges
By Paul Losch | 17 comments | 1,262 views