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Knight Ridder Relocating to Silicon Valley

Newspapers: Company will move headquarters from Miami in early 1999 to be in high-tech corridor.

April 29, 1998|From Times Wire Services

Knight Ridder on Tuesday said it will move its headquarters to Silicon Valley from Miami in a bid to remake its image into a high-technology information provider from a traditional newspaper company.

Of 150 corporate employees, Knight Ridder estimated that about 65 top executives, including Chairman and Chief Executive Tony Ridder, would relocate to California, where the company owns the San Jose Mercury News and several other newspapers.

"There is no doubt that new technology and the emerging power of the Internet will greatly affect how people will get their news and information," Ridder said in a statement. "As a news and information company, we want to stay very close to developments related to this new medium."

The move by the No. 2 U.S. newspaper publisher is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 1999. The company's New Media division, which manages the company's online services, is already located in San Jose.

The company said it has not decided where the new corporate headquarters will be located, but it is expected to be somewhere between San Francisco and San Jose, company spokesman Polk Laffoon said.

The relocation was announced after Knight Ridder's annual shareholders meeting Tuesday in Miami, where the company owns the Miami Herald.

At the meeting, shareholders soundly defeated a union proposal to link Knight Ridder's executive pay in part to the quality of its news coverage. Knight Ridder has long struggled with labor unrest.

The proposal was in response to Knight Ridder's requirement that the staff of the Monterey County Herald reapply for jobs after the company took over in August 1997. That dispute added to rancor caused by a strike by 2,500 workers against the company's Detroit Free Press.

Knight Ridder recently added a logo on the bottom of the front page of every newspaper it sells with the slogan "Information for Life." The company has also devoted more resources to newspaper Web sites.

Shares of Knight Ridder rose 63 cents to close at $56.88 on the New York Stock Exchange. The headquarters announcement was made after the market closed.

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Bloomberg News and Associated Press were used in compiling this report.

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