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MediaNews willing to replace Hearst funds

MediaNews is ready to replace the $263 million it is getting from the Hearst Corp. to buy the Mercury News and other Knight Ridder papers if required by antitrust officials, according to a story in this morning’s Merc.

MediaNews said it will “provide its own financing” for Hearst’s part of the acquisition. MediaNews’s stake in the deal is already leveraged. Of the $1 billion, $263 million is coming from Hearst. The rest, $737 million, will come from the California Newspaper Partnership, of which MediaNews owns a controlling 52.23 percent. Gannett and Stephens Media own the rest.

The $1 billion deal will give MediaNews a combined 727,284 daily circulation in the Bay Area compared to 398,246 for the Chron.

On June 20, McClatchy announced that while its purchase of Knight Ridder would be approved, and that closing would occur today (June 27) as scheduled, its planned sale of the Knight Ridder papers in Northern California to MediaNews was on hold until a decision by DOJ. According to MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton, DOJ wanted more information. “We’ve gathered data, we’re still gathering some data, and we expect it to be done very soon,” Singleton told the Merc on Monday. In the meantime, McClatchy is the owner of the Merc, Contra Costa Times, Palo Alto Daily News, Monterey Herald and St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Dispatch.

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