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Knight Ridder to Consider Alternatives

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Knight Ridder Inc., the nation's second biggest newspaper company, said Monday its board is working with longtime financial adviser Goldman Sachs & Co. to explore its strategic alternatives including a possible sale of the company to boost its value for its shareholders.

The announcement comes as the publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Miami Herald and 30 other papers is under pressure from at least two big shareholders to put the company up for sale.

San Jose-based Knight Ridder cautioned there can be no assurance that the process will result in any transaction and said it does not intend to disclose developments unless its board approves a specific transaction.

Earlier this month, the company's largest shareholder, Private Capital Management LP of Naples, Fla., announced it may nominate a slate of directors to the company's board as it urged Knight Ridder to pursue a sale of the company. Private Capital owns 19 percent of Knight Ridder.

Another major shareholder, Harris Associates LP, a Chicago-based money manager, later sent a letter to Knight Ridder's board urging the company to consider offers ``immediately'' given the wide gap between the company's current share price and its intrinsic value. Harris has an 8.2 percent stake in Knight Ridder.

Newspaper stocks have fallen out of favor with investors this year because of concerns about waning advertising and circulation as more people go online for news.

It's uncertain whether many bidders would emerge for Knight Ridder, given the dismal valuations of newspaper companies.
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