Digest: McClatchy selling Star Tribune

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McClatchy Co. said late Tuesday that it will sell the Star Tribune newspaper to private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners for $530 million, a sharp drop from the $1.2 billion it paid to acquire the flagship property eight years ago. McClatchy sold its largest newspaper in part because it can take a tax loss, and because the newspaper's growth had tapered off, chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt said. McClatchy spent $4.5 billion this year to buy the Knight Ridder newspaper chain. As part of that deal, it immediately sold off 12 newspapers for a profit, generating a tax bill that will be offset by the loss on the Star Tribune. That tax benefit is worth $160 million.

Apple shares mixed on probe news

Federal prosecutors are probing whether former Apple Computer Inc. officials forged documents to maximize executives' profits from stock options, according to a legal publication that also reported that CEO Steve Jobs has hired his own lawyers to represent him in the investigation. Shares of the iPod maker went on a roller-coaster ride in trading Wednesday, falling about 5% before rebounding, closing a penny higher to $81.52. The Recorder, a San Francisco-based publication owned by American Lawyer Media, reported that prosecutors are looking into forged documents at Apple related to administering stock options.

Finance chief sells Blockbuster shares

The chief financial officer at Blockbuster Inc. sold 99,908 shares of common stock under a prearranged trading plan, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Larry Zine reported that he sold the shares Thursday for $5.07 apiece. The stock closed 1% lower Wednesday at $5.16, having traded in a 52-week range of $3.20-$5.59.
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