NEW YORK, NY, December 26, 2006 -- Avista Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire The Star Tribune Company from The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), a leading newspaper publisher, for $530 million.
The Star Tribune Company is the leading information provider in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and includes the Star Tribune newspaper, StarTribune.com and other print and digital products and services. The Star Tribune is the leading daily and Sunday newspaper in the Twin Cities area with daily circulation in excess of 360,000 and Sunday circulation of approximately 600,000. The Star Tribune is the 10th largest Sunday paper and 14th largest daily paper in the United States. StarTribune.com is the most frequently visited online local news and information site in the Twin Cities, regularly reaching 36% of the adults in the Twin Cities region.
OhSang Kwon, a partner of Avista Capital Partners, said, "With an exceptional brand and presence in a strong demographic market, the Star Tribune represents a very attractive asset among major metropolitan newspapers. We will be entering this market in a leading position, and find great promise in the company's potential for growth. Moreover, we are eager to start working with the talented people of the Star Tribune and serving the people of the Twin Cities."
Chris Harte, a member of Avista's executive advisory board, will serve as Chairman of The Star Tribune Company, but the newspaper's senior management team will remain in place.
Mr. Harte added, "We are excited to be partnering with the strong management team at the Star Tribune. We believe there is a great future for newspapers like the Star Tribune that produce an excellent local product for their communities and are focused on what their readers want. Furthermore, the Star Tribune does a terrific job of making its content available over the internet and in other forms that its readers need and want."
James Finkelstein, an industry partner at Avista who will also serve on the Board of The Star Tribune Company, added, "Despite the proliferation of media choices available today, newspapers represent the one vehicle that can deliver content in all platforms from paper to the internet to phone. The Star Tribune will continue to capitalize on these market dynamics, supported by its broad talent pool and compelling brand. We look forward to partnering with management to build the Star Tribune into the ultimate multi-media brand of the future."
"We look forward to working with our new partners at Avista," said Keith Moyer, publisher and president of the Star Tribune. "We'll plan to take advantage of the partnership's strong base of knowledge in the media/publishing sector as we continue to serve as the top, most diversified, news and information source in the Twin Cities."
Davis Polk & Wardwell served as legal counsel Avista Capital Partners and financing will be provided by Credit Suisse and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
About Avista Capital Partners
Avista Capital Partners is a private equity firm with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX. Founded in 2005, Avista's strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented media, healthcare and energy companies. Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses. www.avistacap.com
About The McClatchy Company
The McClatchy Company will now be the third-largest newspaper company in the United States, with 31 daily newspapers and approximately 50 non-dailies. McClatchy owned newspapers include The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star, The Charlotte Observer, and The (Raleigh) News & Observer. In addition, McClatchy has a robust network of internet assets, including leading local websites in each of its daily newspaper markets, offering users information, comprehensive news, advertising, e-commerce and other services. The company also owns and operates McClatchy Interactive, an interactive operation that provides websites with content, publishing tools and software development; Real Cities (http://www.RealCities.com), the largest national advertising network of local news websites, including more than 130 newspaper websites; and 15.0% of CareerBuilder, the nation's largest online job site. McClatchy also owns 25.6% of Classified Ventures, a newspaper industry partnership that offers classified websites such as cars.com and apartments.com. McClatchy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MNI. www.mcclatchy.com
About The Star Tribune Company
The Star Tribune Company is the leading information provider in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and includes the Star Tribune newspaper, StarTribune.com and other print and digital products and services. The Star Tribune is the leading daily and Sunday newspaper in the Twin Cities area with daily circulation in excess of 360,000 and Sunday circulation of approximately 600,000. The Star Tribune is the 10th largest Sunday paper and 14th largest daily paper in the United States. StarTribune.com is the most frequently visited online local news and information site in the Twin Cities with reach of 36%. The Star Tribune's other print and digital products include weekly suburban editions which focus on intensely local news coverage, direct marketing products and internet websites that allow advertisers to target special interest audiences in areas such as local lifestyle, social networking and real estate.
Media Contact for Avista Capital Partners
Diana Postemsky, Kekst and Company, 212-521-4805