Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley (pictured) is questioning whether her union’s bids to buy the 12 Knight Ridder newspapers McClatchy put up for sale, including the San Jose Mercury News, received the same consideration as those of other bidders. But in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal, one of 12 KR papers that will be sold next month, Foley conceded that the other bidders “were willing to pay more.” Foley said the union’s bids, while unsuccessful, will shape the process of employees will buy businesses in the future.
The union teamed up with Yucaipa Companies, the investment banking arm of Ron Burkle, a billionaire who has attempted to reduce access to California court records and last year had his employees buy every copy of Los Angeles Business Journal so the public couldn’t see details of his divorce.
Foley said the union spent $175,000 to retain Duff & Phelps Securities LLC. of Chicago and Ownership Associates Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., to advise it on what are commonly called ESOPs, or employee stock ownership programs. Other costs involved in the union’s bids weren’t disclosed in the story.