With bids due tomorrow (Thursday, March 9), the list of prospective buyers for Knight Ridder has dwindled to three, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a paper owned by one of the bidders, the McClatchy Co. The article quotes a newspaper broker as saying McClatchy (also owner of the Sacramento Bee) would make the most sense as the buyer from a cultural perspective because it is a firm that has proven it can make money and win Pulitzers. But McClatchy would have to take on a staggering amount of debt to buy KR, which would force deep budget cutting. Others still in the hunt include the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners of New York and a joint offer from Gannett Co. and Billy Dean Singleton’s Media News Group, owner of several Bay Area papers including the Oakland Tribune. KR owns 32 dailies including the San Jose Mercury News, Palo Alto Daily News Group, Contra Costa Times and Monterey Herald.