Monday, March 20, 2006

More BS from the New York Times

This is what passes for "News Analysis" of the Knight Ridder sale by the New York Times. (The article originally appeared in the NYTimes.)

Their barebone facts.
* Tony Ridder sold the company and didn't have to.
* The sale was a stunning capitulation.
* Ridder could have "toughened" it out.
* McClatchy bought the company for $4.5 billion in cash and stock.

BACK UP there a moment, because the NYT forgot some inconvenient facts.
1. McClatchy didn't have $4.5 billion.
2. They borrowed $3.75 billion, so whoever bailed out Knight Ridder with a convenient loan to McClatchy actually own the Knight Ridder papers.
3. McClatchy also assumed $2 billion in Knight Ridder debt. (No mention whatsoever in the article.)
4. Knight Ridder debt burden was extraordinarily high even compared to other papers.
5. The above (#4) explains why Knight Ridder profits were so low. Much of their income was needed to service their debt. Their short and long-term debt rating had been reduced by Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poors. (pg 37)
6. Knight Ridder had no choice but to sell or risk losing control of the company. Two other investment companies besides Private Capital Management were committed to challenging the board and instituting changes that would take KR out of Tony Ridder's hands.
7. McClatchy and the bankers will sell off 12 papers immediately, effectively breaking up the Knight Ridder chain. (No mention in article.)
8. The 2nd to last paragraph of the "news analysis" is pure wishful thinking. Knight Ridder was grateful that anyone bid on the sale. No other buyers were to be found.

So much for "all the news that's fit to print", huh?

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