Dean Singleton’s MediaNews will get some financial help from Gannett Co. and a smaller newspaper company, Stephens Media Group, when he bids for the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Dispatch and other Knight Ridder papers, the LA Times reported today (April 21). The Times also said a deal wouldn’t come until next week at the earliest. Under a 1999 alliance with Gannett and Stephens, known as the California Newspapers Partnership, Singleton’s MediaNews is required to give its partners the option to participate in any newspaper purchases in California. Previously, Gannett had said it wasn’t going to bid for the Knight Ridder newspapers that are being put up for sale by McClatchy Co., but a partnership with Singleton is apparently a less risky way for the newspaper giant to expand its holdings in California. The partnership already owns 23 papers in California including the Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Marin Independent Journal. MediaNews is the majority owner, while Stephens holds a 26.3% interest and Gannett has 19.5%. Stephens owns papers in Arkansas and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. [Chron: Bay Area newspaper landscape will undergo seismic change if Singleton succeeds] [Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Potential buyer doubts Singleton has $1 billion]

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