The antitrust division of the Department of Justice is looking into the possible sale of the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times to Dean Singleton’s MediaNews Group, according to John McManus (pictured) of the web site, who says he was personally interviewed today (March 29) by a DOJ attorney. The attorney “expressed interest in whether a purchase of Bay Area Knight Ridder papers by MediaNews might raise the rates businesses pay to advertise,” McManus wrote. “The DOJ attorney conducting the interview asked about the impact of a MediaNews buyout on advertisers, rather than on consumer prices or news quality. But he was willing to listen to concerns about concentration of ownership on the news product.” [AP: Congressmen seek DOJ probe into KR deal in Minneapolis-St. Paul] [Sacramento Bee: McClatchy gets at least three feelers for KR papers] [NY Sun: Clinton emerges in union group bidding for KR papers] [Reuters: Moody’s cuts KR, McClatchy debt rating to one notch above junk]

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  1. That seems odd. The only firm bid for certain McClatchy properties has been provided by Singleton. The rest of the folks are simply uttering platitudes and generalities.

  2. Word on the street is that Singleton is having trouble raising money to buy these papers. He’s so overextended that nobody will lend him a dime. McClatchy thought they’d have a deal with Singleton by now, but the auction is going to stay open until buyers with money step forward.

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