Medical Tuesday Blog
The Sacramento BEE, started during the gold rush, is no more. McClatchy family empire is ending. Legacy lasted from Gold Rush, to fortune, to bankruptcy
The McClatchy Co. — a publisher of newspapers in 30 markets including Sacramento, Kansas City and Miami — is declaring bankruptcy, citing heavy debt and pension obligations.
Fifteen years ago, McClatchy stock was worth about $700 a share. Now it’s trading at 75 cents at the time of bankruptcy filing. Its acquisition of Knight Ridder loaded it with billions of dollars more of crisis, and its pension thing is unsustainable. They say they have 28 pensioners for every employee. That’s in part because they’ve cut back so much. But, you know, that’s what they face – the question of debts, the question of their pension obligations. . .
The McClatchy family dominated the Sacramento landscape for decades, publishing its leading newspaper while shaping the history and culture of the city.
Starting with the first edition of The Daily Bee during the Gold Rush, the McClatchys built one of the titans in American media. They controlled dailies from coast to coast and a nationally respected news bureau bearing the family’s name in Washington, D.C. They mingled with presidents and governors, crusaded for civic improvement and stood alongside California’s other great newspaper families: the Chandlers in Los Angeles, the Hearsts and de Youngs in San Francisco.
But the 21st century has been hard on the McClatchys. An ill-timed $4.4 billion acquisition of the Knight Ridder chain in 2006 left The McClatchy Co. deeply in debt just as the newspaper industry’s fortunes started crumbling in the digital era.
Early Thursday, McClatchy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The move will erase about 55 percent of the debt but transfer control to a group of hedge funds led by Chatham Asset Management of New Jersey.
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