Billy Dean Singleton (pictured) will probably be able to buy Knight Ridder at a “fire-sale price,” Fortune Magazine writer Devin Leonard says in an article out today. Leonard says public companies like Gannett won’t touch KR because it will trigger a shareholder backlash. Private equity companies won’t bid for KR because tax rules will prevent them from selling off individual papers at a profit. And so that leaves Singleton, who already owns the Alameda Newspaper Group (Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Marin Independent Journal, etc.). If Singleton acquires KR, and its Bay Area papers (Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Palo Alto Daily News group), he will pass the Chronicle in circulation.

SF Press Club News

One Comment

  1. Singleton has gutted every newspaper he has bought. Take the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which used to be a Knight Ridder property. He got it a couple of years ago, slashed salaries, veteran reporters quit, the news hole shrunk, circulation fell and advertisers bolted. Now it is a shadow of its former self. The Oakland Tribune was already a mess before Singleton got it, but he hasn’t exactly brought it back to life. He also gutted the Sam Mateo Times, which was once a serious player in the Bay Area news business. Hopefully KR will stay away from Singleton. — Curt S.

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