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Knight Ridder considers selling company

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Washington (dpa) - Knight Ridder, a major U.S. publisher, said Monday it was considering a possible sale of the company.

Based in San Jose, California, the company said in a statement that its board of directors had decided to "explore strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value."

Knight Ridder is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to evaluate its options, it said in a statement. It also said there was no assurance the exploration of alternatives would result in any transactions.

Knight Ridder publishes 32 daily newspapers in 29 U.S. markets, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Miami Herald, and boasts a daily readership of 8.5 million daily, the company said.

Knight Ridder's woes reflect a broader problem facing the newspaper industry - shrinking circulation and increasing paper costs. According to to the publisher's industry group last week, daily circulation has fallen 2.6 per cent within a year, and 3.1 per cent on Sundays. The San Francisco Chronicle - not owned by Knight Ridder - for example lost 16.4 per cent circulation within a year.

Shares of Knight Ridder rose 1.20 dollars, or 1.9 per cent, to 63.70 dollars at 10:45 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, Bloomberg news agency reported. The shares had slid 20 percent this year through October 31, the day before the biggest holder asked for a sale, Bloomberg financial news service said.

According to Bloomberg, there have been 275 media mergers and acquisitions so far this year, worth 81.2 billion dollars. Last year, there were 276 deals worth 88.2 billion dollars in the same period.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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