Any number of things make a business transaction a “big deal.” For one, size does matter, as does a touch of controversy and the potential to dramatically alter an industry. In 2006, the Sacramento region’s biggest deal – the McClatchy Co.’s $6.5 billion March purchase of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain – had all of that and more, most notably the rapidly growing star power of the industry’s golden boy du jour, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt.
The 32-paper Knight Ridder chain was undoubtedly one of the industry’s heavyweights, led by crown jewels like the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Miami Herald and the San Jose Mercury News. But while Knight Ridder papers earned kudos and Pulitzer prizes by the score, the company itself wasn’t winning any awards from shareholders.
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