McClatchy is leading bidder to buy Knight Ridder

I’ve let the story simmer for a while until something more certain has emerged, but it does look like the McClatchy Company is in the lead to buy Knight Ridder. The bid is in the area of $4.8 Billion!

If McClatchy wins the bidding, it would be buying a company twice its size. While McClatchy publishes 12 dailies, including The Star Tribune in Minneapolis; The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.; and The Sacramento Bee, Knight Ridder has 32 newspapers, many in major markets like San Jose, Calif.; St. Paul; Kansas City; and Fort Worth.

Knight Ridder is attractive largely because its newspapers remain profitable despite the current environment of declining industry revenues. Its overall profit margin in 2004 was 19.3 percent, which is robust.

There are some interesting stats in the story as to which company owns the most newspapers and which.