Monday, May 1, 2006

Singleton paying $737m for Merc, CCTimes

A couple of the unanswered questions in last week's deal that gave Dean Singleton (pictured) control of the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and other Knight Ridder newspapers were answered on Hearst's sfgate.com web site today.

The questions: How much was each paper worth? And how much money did Hearst Corp. contribute to the $1 billion deal?

Reporter Carolyn Said said that documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Singleton's MediaNews will pay $736.8 million in cash to acquire the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times. Hearst will pay $263.2 million for the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press and Monterey Herald.

As reported last week, Hearst will turn over those two papers to Singleton in exchange for stock in MediaNews holdings outside the Bay Area. The amount of money MediaNews is putting into the deal will be significantly less than $736 million, however, since it will transfer the three Northern California newspapers into its California Newspapers Partnership, of which it owns just 54.23%. Its other partners, who will contribute porportionate shares of cash toward the sales price, are Gannett Co. (19.49%) and Stephens Media Group (26.28%).

One historic note: While the Merc and CCTimes are valued at $736.8 million in this deal, the KR paid $360 million in 1995 for just the CCTimes. [Merc, CCTimes fetch $736 million]

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