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Merc, CCTimes, Daily News for sale — again

After announcing it would buy the 32-newspaper Knight Ridder chain (see below), McClatchy put 12 of the papers up for sale including the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Palo Alto Daily News group and Monterey Herald in order to pay down the $4.5 billion cost of the sale. McClatchy chief executive Gary Pruitt (pictured) said he only wanted to keep papers in fast growing markets, such as Miami and Dallas-Fort Worth. The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Pruitt as saying, “We do not think it will be difficult to find buyers … We begin marketing these papers today … We will move with alacrity. Perhaps a simultaneous closing.”

Billy Dean Singleton, head of MediaNews Group and owner of papers including the Oakland Tribune and San Mateo County Times, had expressed an interest in buying whatever papers McClatchy didn’t want. It’s expected that he will make an offer for KR’s Philadelphia papers, which are being spun off. But Singleton might face scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division if he buys KR’s local papers because he would own most of the Bay Area newspaper market.

OTHER PAPERS put up for sale include the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, Akron Beacon Journal, Aberdeen (S. Dakota) American News, Grand Forks (N. Dakota) Herald, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel and Wilkes Barre (Penn.) Times Leader.

[Analysts voice concern about McClatchy-Knight Ridder] [Guild wants some of the papers up for sale] [McClatchy promises not to cut jobs]

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