The McClatchy Company dates to the California Gold Rush era of 1857, when James McClatchy was one of the founding editors of its first newspaper, The Sacramento Bee -- one of the oldest newspapers in the West. Coverage of Californiaâ€™s Central Valley expanded with the founding of The Fresno Bee in 1922 and the purchase of The Modesto Bee in 1927.
For more than a century, California was the cornerstone of the company. In 1979, McClatchy expanded into the Northwest with the purchase of the Anchorage Daily News and the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash. In 1986, The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., was added to McClatchyâ€™s growing family of newspapers.
The company went public in February 1988 and its Class A common shares are listed on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MNI. The companyâ€™s Class B common stock, which controls a majority of shareholder voting power, is not publicly traded.
In 1990, McClatchy began publishing on the East Coast with the purchase of three daily newspapers in South Carolina: The Herald in Rock Hill, The Island Packet on Hilton Head Island, and The Beaufort Gazette. The company entered North Carolina in 1995 with the acquisition of The News & Observer in Raleigh and several affiliated non-dailies. McClatchy Interactive, known as Nando Media prior to 2005, was created by The News & Observer and acquired by McClatchy when it bought the newspaper. The Star Tribune, which serves the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, was acquired in 1998 and positioned the company in four distinct, fast-growing regions in the nation.
In 2004, McClatchy purchased the Merced Sun-Star and five affiliated non-dailies in Californiaâ€™s Central Valley. The newspapers, situated between Modesto and Fresno, serve a fast-growing region and provided a good strategic fit with McClatchyâ€™s other Central Valley papers.
In 2006, McClatchy purchased Knight Ridder Inc. to become the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States.
Of Knight Ridderâ€™s 32 daily newspapers, McClatchy immediately announced its intentions to sell 12 that didn't fit its longstanding acquisition philosophy of buying newspapers in fast-growing markets.
The 20 daily newspapers retained in the Knight Ridder acquisition were: The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Calif.; The Bellingham Herald and The Olympian in Washington; The Idaho Statesman in Boise; The Kansas City Star in Missouri; The Olathe News and The Wichita Eagle in Kansas; the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Texas; the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois; the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and The Telegraph in Georgia; the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss.; the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky; the Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania; The Miami Herald, Bradenton Herald and El Nuevo Herald in Florida; The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina; and The Sun News and The State in South Carolina.
With the acquisition of Knight Ridder, McClatchy also acquired dozens of non-daily newspapers, added a number of digital assets and employees, significantly expanded its Washington, D.C., news bureau, and gained an international presence for the first time in its history with the addition of 10 foreign news bureaus.
As part of its analysis of the Knight Ridder acquisition, McClatchy sold the Star Tribune in 2007. The sale of its largest newspaper made McClatchy the third-largest newspaper publisher in the United States. In 2008, The Olathe News converted from daily publication to twice-weekly.
The McClatchy Company today owns 30 daily newspapers in 29 U.S. markets. These markets are growing 50 percent faster than the national average. In each of its daily newspaper markets, McClatchy operates the leading local website, offering readers information, comprehensive news, advertising, e-commerce and other services.
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- 03/24/11 -techcrunch.com