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Knight-Ridder To Buy South Carolina Media Group

October 28, 1986

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Knight-Ridder’s acquisition of The State-Record Co., publisher of six daily newspapers and two weeklies in Mississippi and South Carolina, will be its biggest purchase ever, Knight-Ridder’s chairman said.

The agreement, announced by both companies Monday, still must be approved by their boards of directors as well as by State-Record shareholders.

But Knight-Ridder Inc. Chairman Alvah H. Chapman Jr. said if any problems had been anticipated in closing the deal ″we wouldn’t be here.″

Chapman said the acquisition would be the largest in Knight-Ridder history, but terms of the cash agreement were not immediately disclosed.

The sale was brought about in part by divergent interests of the company’s stockholders, who are all descendants of the founders of The State newspaper, said Ben R. Morris, president of The State-Record Co.

″We’ve got a good number of stockholders ... and they’re all scattered out geographically. They don’t all have the same interests,″ he said. ″Privately held companies, whether newspaper or otherwise, are all having this problem.

″We’re not going to disclose any of the details. It’s a private matter. We’re a privately held company.″

Morris said several other newspaper groups were interested in buying State- Record, but he would not disclose which companies.

The State newspaper, the company’s flagship, was founded in Columbia by Ambrose E. Gonzales and N.G. Gonzales, the sons of Ambrosio Gonzales, who fled Cuba in the 1850s after his involvement in an unsuccessful rebellion to free Cuba from Spanish rule.

The State’s initial edition was published in February 1891 and descendants of the family have run the newspaper company since.

Morris said changes in the tax laws were a factor in the sale. Changes in the capital gains tax made it advantageous to complete the sale during 1986, Knight-Ridder officials said.

Few immediate changes will be made at the papers, he said. ″We see very few things that we want to change. The same people will be leading it.″

If the sale is approved, Morris would be invited to join the board of Miami-based Knight-Ridder, Chapman said.

The State-Record’s newspapers are published in seven cities in South Carolina and Mississippi. Combined circulation of the newspapers is 235,000 daily and 236,000 Sunday.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1986, State-Record posted a net income of $8.61 million on revenue of $88.93 million, Knight-Ridder said.

State-Record also owns and operates State Printing Co. in Columbia, and Band and White Printing Co. in Spartanburg.

In addition to The State, daily newspapers owned by the company include The Columbia Record; The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.; The Sun News, Myrtle Beach; the Starkville Daily News, Starkville, Miss.; and the Daily Times Leader, West Point, Miss.

The company also publishes the Newberry Observer and the Webster Progress- Times, Eupora, Miss., both weekly newspapers.

Knight-Ridder owns The Miami Herald, the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat, the San Jose Mercury-News, the Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and The Charlotte Observer. The company has 28 daily newspapers, eight television stations, cable television operations, business information services and other subsidiaries.

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