McClatchy files for bankruptcy protection

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country is filing for bankruptcy protection.

McClatchy Co.’s 30 newsrooms, including The Charlotte Observer, The News and Observer in Raleigh, and The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, will continue to operate as usual as the publisher reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The publisher’s origins date to 1857 when it first began publishing a four-page paper in Sacramento, California, following the California Gold Rush. That paper became The Sacramento Bee.

McClatchy has received $50 million debtor-in-possession financing from Encina Business Credit. That, combined with normal operating cash flows, will provide enough cash for the company, still based in Sacramento, to continue to function.


“When local media suffers in the face of industry challenges, communities suffer: polarization grows, civic connections fray and borrowing costs rise for local governments,’’ said CEO Craig Forman. ‘‘We are moving with speed and focus to benefit all our stakeholders and our communities.”

McClatchy expects fourth-quarter revenues of $183.9 million, down 14% from a year earlier. Its 2019 revenue is anticipated to be down 12.1% from the previous year. That would mean that the publisher’s revenue will have slid for six consecutive years.

The company expects to pull its listing from the New York Stock Exchange as a publicly traded company, and go private.

McClatchy has suffered as readers give up traditional subscriptions and get news online and like other publishers, it’s tried to follow them there.

Digital-only subscriptions have increased by almost 50% year over year, McClatchy said, and subscriptions are now roughly evenly balanced between total audience and advertising revenues, with digital accounting for 40% of those revenues and growing. The company has more than 200,000 digital-only subscribers and over 500,000 paid digital customer relationships.


‘‘McClatchy remains a strong operating company with an enduring commitment to independent journalism that spans five generations of my family,'’ said Chairman Kevin McClatchy, the great-great grandson of the company founder, James McClatchy.

McClatchy operates 30 newspapers in 14 states:


The Fresno Bee, Fresno

Merced Sun-Star, Merced

The Modesto Bee, Modesto

The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento

The Tribune, San Luis Obispo


Bradenton Herald, Bradenton

El Nuevo Herald, Miami

Miami Herald, Miami


Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus

The Telegraph, Macon


Idaho Statesmen, Boise


Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville


The Wichita Eagle, Wichita


Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington


Sun Herald, Biloxi


The Kansas City Star, Kansas City


The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte

The Herald-Sun, Durham

The News & Observer, Raleigh


The Beaufort Gazette, Beaufort

The State, Columbia

The Island Packet, Hilton Head Island

The Sun News, Myrtle Beach

The Herald, Rock Hill


Centre Daily Times, State College


Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth


Bellingham Herald, Bellingham

Tri-City Herald, Kennewick

The Olympian, Olympia

The News Tribune, Tacoma