An investment banking company headed by California supermarket baron Ron Burkle (pictured) will help finance a union attempt to buy nine unionized Knight Ridder newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News. (The Contra Costa Times and Palo Alto Daily News Group, KR’s other major Bay Area assets, are nonunion.) Knight Ridder, under pressure by shareholders to sell its assets, has repeatedly said that it is not interested in selling the company in pieces because that would increase the taxes a buyer must pay. The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America would not say how much Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies would give, but Guild President Linda Foley told the Mercury News, “Yucaipa can certainly put up enough money to finance a deal.” Merc reporter Pete Carey described Burkle as a close friend of former President Bill Clinton who built a fortune through mergers and acquisitions of supermarket chains like Ralphs and Food4Less.

SF Press Club News

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