McClatchy, among the top three newspaper companies in America, burdened by huge debt and a steep slide in newspaper readership and advertising, wants to sell one of its most prized properties, The Miami Herald, according to people briefed on the company’s plans. That would be like you selling your best late model car that you use to get downtown to work every day.
McClatchy has approached potential buyers for The Herald, said people within the company (not able to give their names out of fear). But they said they knew of no serious offers for the paper, reflecting the reality of major investors’ interest in buying newspapers. None what so ever.
The reports all say about the same thing. The blood letting will continue for a long while. Eventually, only the top regional newspapers will survive in a mixed media format of print and online news and advertising. The list of survivors will not have room for papers like the Miami Herald, Rocky Mountain News, or even the Sacramento Bee. The San Francisco Chronicle will handle Northern California and the LA Times Southern Cal.
In Florida, readers will keep with the NY Times and the St Petersburg Times will become Florida’s paper of record. Just my opinion of course.
A company spokeswoman refused to discuss the matter. Elaine Lintecum, the treasurer, said, “We do not comment on market rumors.”
Well, time will tell. What workers should watch for: window dressing. There will be blood letting.
You will experience some more cuts. The bean counters will have to make the books look good in Miami for the next six months. Computers will not be replaced, of course, neither will people, even the work horses who take the chump change buyouts.
There will be some morale-boosting promotions such as “awards” to some high profile employees to add to the window dressing, but not with pay. Next, watch for tours of about six people in suits — accountants, corporate attorneys and a few silver haired consultants. Be nice to them, who knows if the older guy in his 60s will be the publisher in May of ’09.
The McClatchy folly in 2006 is a case study in bad management. They bought Knight Ridder when its share holders said dump the bad business and the remaining Ridder family members looked at the numbers and said, “yes, you are right, sell now!”
Through the first 10 months of this year, McClatchy’s ad revenue fell 14.7 percent in other parts of the country, but 22.5 percent in California and Florida, the NY Times reported. (The Times does a good job reporting on the troubles of comepetitors).
The McClatchy share price, which exceeded $75 in 2005, ironically started its slide soon after they purchesed the Knight Ridder papers, closed at $2.20 on Friday. So, for the price of a Rockstar sport drink, you could buy a share of McClatchy stock. Go for the Rockstar, you really will get something for your money.