The much-awaited ruling essentially finds that there isn’t an anti-trust issue if Media News acquires two Bay Area newspapers – the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times. Investigators found that few readers and advertisers view these papers, and those already owned by Media News in the Bay Area, as alternatives. Further, the Justice Department noted that the San Francisco Chronicle would remain as healthy competition.
This is a key step toward completion of a one billion dollar sale to Media News. McClatchy acquired these papers when it bought the entire Knight Ridder chain earlier this year. Funds from the sale will help pay down the debt linked to that acquisition.