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New Jersey hedge fund buying major daily newspaper chain

Chatham Asset Management puts in high bid for McClatchy

By David Wildstein, July 13 2020 10:27 am

A New Jersey-based hedge fund is expected to become the new owners of McClatchy, which operates 30 major daily newspapers in fourteen states, including the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star, and the Charlotte Observer.

Chatham Asset Management controls American Media, Inc,, the owner of the National Enquirer.  They sold the tabloid in 2019, but the deal never closed.

Anthony Melchiorre, the founder of the hedge fund, lives in Short Hills.

Melchiorre and his wife contributed nearly $120,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and more than $35,000 to the Republican National Committee that year.  He also donated to Rep. Jon Runyan (D-Moorestown) and Republican Scott Sipprelle’s bid to unseat Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) in 2010.

“As a supportive investor in McClatchy since 2009, Chatham is committed to preserving independent journalism and newsroom jobs,” the firm said in a statement.

None of the McClatchy media properties are New Jersey-based.

McClatchy filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and Chatham Asset Management has put in the winning bid to take it over.  That likely means an end to the McClatchy family ownership of the chain after 163 years.

Chatham has been an investor in McClatchy for more than a decade and is the newspaper company’s largest creditor.

“From the outset of this voluntary Chapter 11 filing, our aim was to permanently address both the Company’s legacy debt and pension obligations and strengthen our balance sheet in order to provide greater certainty and stability to the wider group of our colleagues and stakeholders who benefit from a restructured McClatchy,” said Craig Forman, the McClatchy president and CEO. “We’re pleased that Chatham and the supportive secured first-lien creditors believe in our business and our mission and are helping to achieve these goals. Local journalism has never been more vital and we remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering on our mission and continuing to serve our communities.”

According to a press release from McClatchy the company is now expected to exit Chapter 11 over the next three months after restructuring their debt and pension obligation.

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