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KR, Gannett announcements due Monday

The Mercury News’ story on the possible sale of Knight Ridder was updated this evening (March 10) to say that an announcement could occur as early as Monday morning, probably before the stock market opens.

The earlier lede on the Pete Carey story, posted at about 5 p.m., was: With at least two bids on the table, Knight Ridder’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Sunday in New York to weigh offers in the possible sale of the San Jose newspaper company.

At 7:33 p.m., a new version was posted on the Merc’s web site with the bylines of Carey and Chris O’Brien which began: With McClatchy touted as the front runner in the sale of Knight Ridder, sources familiar with the bidding process said a decision could be announced Monday.

The updated story had a new fourth paragraph saying, “Several sources said an announcement may be made early Monday morning in New York.” It would probably happen before the stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, 6:30 Pacific.

Even more intriguing was what the story said about Gannett, which isn’t believed to have made a bid by Thursday’s deadline but might have afterward. The updated 7:33 p.m. story said: “Gannett told all employees to be their computers Monday morning for a webcast by president and chief executive Craig Dubow [pictured], but there was no indication of what it would be about.” Several media outlets reported today (Friday, March 10) that McClatchy was the high bidder.

The changes in the Merc’s story tonight could be significant because company chairman Tony Ridder has said previously that the public shouldn’t believe reports about the sale in non KR papers, and Pete Carey has written stories where it appears KR sources have either confirmed or denied reports in other media.

[Wall Street Journal: McClatchy Takes Aim Again] [Lou Alexander: There is still a lot we do not know] [NY Times: McClatchy in the lead] [LA Times: Board has to decide whether to sell at all]

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