Gannett, the Tribune Company and Knight Ridder each own one-third of the job board CareerBuilder. So, when McClatchy bought Knight Ridder – the big lingering question was “what will happen with KR’s share”? The contract between the original newspaper entities had a provision stating that if any of the owners were sold, the others could buy the remaining equity. Gannett and Tribune said they wanted to buy back Knight Ridder’s third – McClatchy said – not without a nice payout:
Gary B. Pruitt, the chief executive of McClatchy, said his preference would be to maintain a stake in CareerBuilder, but if not, he said he expected a “big check.”
“We’ll either be a partner or we’ll have a lot of money from the proceeds to pay down our debt” from the Knight Ridder deal, he said. “We’re in discussions and it’s unresolved, but there are other options.”
The negotiations are over and today the new Careerbuilder arrangement was announced and McClatchy will retain a 15% stake, pick up full use of the CB platform for 12 of their properties that were outside of the CB fold prior to their acquisition of Knight Ridder, and cash in on Knight Ridder’s foresight in driving the original Careerbuilder acquisition by KR and Tribune to the tune of $310 million. Just think, that’s only a little more than three times what Tiger Woods makes in a year ($97MM).