Pioneer Press Agonistes: So much for happy endings

In the months since revolting shareholders at Knight Ridder announced they wanted the newspaper chain sold off, there has been a plethora of speculation about what this will mean for the KR-owned St. Paul Pioneer Press.

None of the commonly mentioned scenarios have been especially heartening. That is, with one exception: news of a Newspaper Guild proposal to buy nine K-R properties (among them, the Pi Press, the Duluth News Tribune, and the Grand Forks Herald) and turn them into employee-owned operations.

It looked like a long shot from the start. Now it looks downright impossible. According to a report in today's San Francisco Chronicle, K-R execs are refusing to even consider offers to sell the chain's assets piece-meal. Why? Evidently, that manner of sale would trigger a major capital gains penalty.

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