It looks like billionaire Ron Burkle (pictured) has become a front-runner in the competition for the 12 Knight Ridder newspapers for sale, including those in the Bay Area. Reporter Joseph Menn of the LA Times reports this morning that Burkle, who is backing a union bid to buy the papers, has said he is willing to pay “in the neighborhood” of $2.2 billion for the papers. McClatchy Co., which bought Knight Ridder and is selling 12 of the chain’s papers, was hoping to get at least $1.4 million. Menn writes that Singleton “didn’t offer enough to end the auction process.” In the coming weeks, McClatchy will put the papers up for sale in groups, which increases the chance that they will go to multiple owners. The San Francisco Examiner has reported previously that Burkle’s bid includes funds from the United Arab Emirates. Burkle’s company that will own the papers, Yucapia Companies, has on its board of directors Bill Clinton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. [Pioneer Press workers to spend $42,000 to promote union’s bid] [Sacramento Bee: Bill to keep Burkle’s divorce info secret advances] [Chris Reed, San Diego Union Tribune: The Burkle cover-up bill advances] [Forbes: Billionaire Burkle to rescue McClatchy papers?] [Chron: Divorce secrecy vote imminent: Opponents claim bill is designed to help Burkle]

SF Press Club News

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