The Bush administration approved, and a federal judge refused to stop, an effort by the parent companies of the Reno Gazette-Journal and other media entities to acquire part of the former McClatchy newspaper chain.
McClatchy purchased Knight Ridder in March and skimmed the cream from the acquisition, keeping 20 newspapers and selling 12 in stagnant markets. Three of the newspapers—San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and Monterey Herald—are in the Bay Area, and a group that includes the Gannett Corporation and Stephens Media is trying to acquire them. Gannett is the owner of the Reno Gazette-Journal, and Stephens owns 12 newspapers in Nevada, including two dailies—the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Ely Daily Times.
Last Friday in San Francisco, U.S. Judge Susan Illston refused to issue an emergency order sought by a community activist to stop the sale. And Monday, U.S. antitrust officials closed an investigation of the sale without taking action. “After a careful investigation … the antitrust division determined that the transaction is not likely to reduce competition substantially,” the Justice Department’s antitrust division said in a statement. A separate state investigation by the California attorney general continues.