The debt-ridden McClatchy Company is trying to unload the Miami Herald, reports the New York Times. So far, it hasn't found any buyers, though.
This is huge news, but its not being reported on the Herald home page (or the Sun-Sentinel's -- though it had a brief in this morning's print edition).
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This could get very interesting (and painful). Any buyer would almost surely separate the newspaper from the waterfront property at One Herald Plaza, which would mean a serious shakeout at the newspaper. The positive side: The newspaper would be freed from the sinking ship that is McClatchy.
This could also be the first step in the South Florida superpaper theory. Any buyer might wait in the wings for a similar opportunity to snap up the Sun-Sentinel and/or Palm Beach Post on the cheap, a distinct possibility if the economy doesn't recover in the first half of 2009.
Mostly, it just shows how desperate McClatchy really is. The company bought Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion in 2006, near the climax of the credit bubble. Talk about buying high and selling low. When I reported on the superpaper theory six weeks ago, I asked Herald Publisher Anders Gyllenhaal if he believed his newspaper would be sold soon. "That's not something we're worried about," he told me.
Well, maybe now is the time.