/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) today announced a definitive agreement to sell the Akron Beacon Journal to Sound Publishing Holdings, Inc. Sound Publishing Holdings, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Black Press Ltd., a Canadian company which produces over 100 publications in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State and Hawaii. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed at the buyer's request. The purchase covers the Akron Beacon Journal and certain publications and web sites related to the newspaper. The Akron Beacon Journal is currently owned by Knight Ridder, Inc., which McClatchy has agreed to acquire. The parties intend to close the transaction as soon as possible after the close of McClatchy's Knight Ridder acquisition, which is expected this summer. "Our aim throughout the divestiture process was to find the right buyers for the right newspapers," said Gary Pruitt, Chief Executive Officer of McClatchy. "We believe that Black Press Ltd. and the Akron Beacon Journal are a great fit, and we look forward to seeing this relationship develop in the future." "Under the direction of the Knight family and Knight Ridder, the Akron Beacon Journal has been a good community newspaper for a long time. We believe in the same focus on local journalism of high quality," said Black Press Ltd. CEO David Black. Dirks, Van Essen & Murray served as broker to McClatchy in this transaction. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati served as legal counsel to McClatchy, and Patterson Adams served as legal counsel to Black Press Ltd. Dirks, Van Essen & Murray served as broker to McClatchy in this transaction. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati served as legal counsel to McClatchy, and Patterson Adams served as legal counsel to Sound Publishing Holdings, Inc. About The McClatchy Company The McClatchy Company, headquartered in Sacramento, CA, is a leading newspaper and internet publisher. It publishes 12 daily and 16 non-daily newspapers located in western coastal states, North and South Carolina, and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. McClatchy has daily circulation of 1.4 million and Sunday circulation of 1.8 million. McClatchy's newspapers include, among others, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, The Sacramento Bee, The Fresno Bee and The Modesto Bee in California, The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), the Anchorage Daily News and Vida en el Valle, a bilingual Spanish weekly newspaper distributed throughout California's Central Valley. McClatchy also operates leading local websites in each of its daily newspaper markets, offering readers information, comprehensive news, advertising, e-commerce and other services, and owns and operates McClatchy Interactive, an interactive operation that provides websites with content, publishing tools and software development. McClatchy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol (MNI). About Black Press Ltd. Black Press Ltd. is a private company that owns and operates 115 newspapers in western Canada, Washington State and Hawaii. Most of the papers are published one to three times per week. Many have controlled circulation. The largest daily owned prior to the acquisition of the Akron Beacon Journal was the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Black Press Ltd. is 80% owned by the David Black family and 20% by Torstar Corporation. Background to the Transaction On March 13, 2006, The McClatchy Company announced a definitive agreement under which McClatchy will acquire Knight-Ridder, Inc. Knight Ridder publishes 32 daily newspapers in 29 U.S. markets, with a circulation of 3.4 million daily and 4.5 million Sunday. Knight Ridder has websites in all of its markets and a variety of investments in internet and technology companies, publishes a growing portfolio of targeted publications and maintains investments in two newsprint companies. Knight Ridder's internet operation develops and manages the company's online properties. It is the founder and operator of Real Cities (www.RealCities.com), the largest national network of city and regional websites in more than 110 U.S. markets. As part of that announcement, McClatchy said it planned to sell 11 of the acquired newspapers that do not fit with the company's longstanding operating strategies and acquisition criteria, and to sell the St. Paul Pioneer Press due to anticipated anti-trust concerns involving McClatchy's (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. After McClatchy's planned divestitures and the close of the Knight Ridder acquisition, The McClatchy Company will become the nation's second-largest newspaper company measured by daily circulation (approximately 3.2 million), with 32 daily newspapers and approximately 50 non-dailies. The expanded McClatchy will own leading newspapers in many of the fastest-growing markets nationwide, with an enhanced portfolio of Internet assets. The transaction is subject to customary terms and conditions, including approval by the Knight Ridder shareholders and is expected to close this summer. On April 26, 2006, the McClatchy Company announced a definitive agreement with MediaNews Group, Inc. (MediaNews) and The Hearst Corporation (Hearst) under which the companies will pay McClatchy $1.0 billion in cash to acquire four newspapers. MediaNews will purchase two northern California papers, the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, and Hearst will acquire the Monterey (CA) Herald, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota. On May 23, 2006, McClatchy announced a definitive agreement to sell Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. (PNI) to Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC (PMH) in a transaction valued at $562 million. The purchase covers the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, both daily newspapers, and related media assets including philly.com. Separately McClatchy announced today definitive agreements to sell The News-Sentinel, a 75% stake in the Fort Wayne Joint Operating Agency and certain publications and web sites related to the newspaper to Ogden Newspapers, the Duluth News Tribune and the Grand Forks Herald to Forum Communications Company and the (Aberdeen) American News to Schurz Communications, Inc. SAFE HARBOR FOR FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS Statements in this press release regarding the proposed transactions between McClatchy and each of Knight Ridder, MediaNews, Hearst, Schurz Communications, Inc., Ogden Newspapers, Forum Communications Company, Sound Publishing Holdings, Inc. and Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, the expected timetable for completing the transactions, future financial and operating results, benefits and synergies of the transactions, the divestiture plan, future opportunities for the company and any other statements about management's future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans or prospects constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact (including statements containing the words "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," estimates and similar expressions) should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements, including: the ability to consummate the transactions, the ability of McClatchy to successfully integrate Knight Ridder's operations and employees; the ability to realize anticipated synergies and cost savings; and the other factors described in McClatchy's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 25, 2005 and the final Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement contained in McClatchy's Registration Statement on Form S-4 (Registration No. 333-133321). McClatchy disclaims any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this document. IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION On May 10, 2006, McClatchy filed with the SEC a Registration Statement on Form S-4 (Registration No. 333-133321) containing a final Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement regarding the proposed transaction between McClatchy and Knight Ridder. Investors and security holders of McClatchy and Knight Ridder are urged to read the Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement carefully because it contains important information about McClatchy, Knight Ridder, the transaction and related matters. The Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement is being mailed on or about May 15, 2006 to stockholders of McClatchy and shareholders of Knight Ridder. Investors and security holders can obtain additional free copies of the Registration Statement and the Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement and other documents filed with the SEC by McClatchy and Knight Ridder through the web site maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders can obtain additional free copies of the Registration Statement and the Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement from McClatchy by contacting Investor Relations at www.mcclatchy.com, by mail to 2100 Q Street, Sacramento, CA 95816 or by telephone at 916-321-1846 or from Knight Ridder by contacting Investor Relations at www.knightridder.com, by mail to Suite 1500, 50 W. San Fernando St., San Jose, CA 95113 or by telephone at 408-938-7838. McClatchy and its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the shareholders of Knight Ridder in connection with the proposed transaction between McClatchy and Knight Ridder. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the transaction described herein is included in the Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement described above. Additional information regarding these directors and executive officers is also included in McClatchy's proxy statement for its 2006 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on or about March 29, 2006. This document is available free of charge at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov and from McClatchy by contacting Investor Relations at www.mcclatchy.com, by mail to 2100 Q Street, Sacramento, CA 95816 or by telephone at 916-321-1846. Knight Ridder and its directors and executive officers also may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the shareholders of Knight Ridder in connection with the proposed transaction between McClatchy and Knight Ridder. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the proposed transaction between McClatchy and Knight Ridder and additional information regarding these directors and executive officers is included in the Prospectus/Proxy Statement/Information Statement described above, which also serves as Knight Ridder's proxy statement for its 2006 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and was filed by Knight Ridder on May 11, 2006. This document is available free of charge at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov and from Knight Ridder by contacting Investor Relations at www.knightridder.com, by mail to Suite 1500, 50 W. San Fernando St., San Jose, CA 95113 or by telephone at 408-938-7838.
SOURCE The McClatchy Company