McClatchy Inc., owner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Sacramento Bee, received at least three bids for two Philadelphia newspapers that it plans to sell as part of its purchase of publisher Knight Ridder Inc.
David Black, chief executive of Canada's Black Press Ltd., said he made an offer. Mortimer Zuckerman's Daily News LP, owner of the New York Daily News, made a bid, as did a group of Philadelphia businessmen led by builder Bruce Toll and public-relations executive Brian Tierney, according to people briefed on each group's plans.
The winning bidder would own the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. The papers are among 12 Knight Ridder properties that McClatchy decided to shed after the $4.5-billion acquisition. MediaNews Group Inc. and Hearst Corp. agreed to buy four others for $1 billion.
The bidding "indicates that major market newspapers have a market," said Edward J. Atorino, managing director of Benchmark Capital. "Someone wants to run these papers."
Shares of Sacramento-based McClatchy fell 33 cents to $46.22. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that as many as six parties might bid for the publications. The papers may reap about $500 million, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.
The two publications have struggled to stem a slide in readers and advertisers.
Circulation at the Philadelphia Daily News dropped to 116,590 in the six months ended March 31 from 128,674 a year earlier. The Philadelphia Inquirer fell to 350,457 from 369,124 in the same period.
Elaine Lintecum, a spokeswoman for McClatchy, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.