McClatchy, publisher of Charlotte Observer, N&O, files for bankruptcy

The company has $700 million in debt

McClatchy, the publisher of the Charlotte Observer and News & Observer, announced Thursday it is filing for bankruptcy protection.

NEW YORK — McClatchy, among the country’s largest newspaper companies which owns North Carolina’s Charlotte Observer and News & Observer, is filing for bankruptcy protection.

McClatchy Co. — the publisher of dozens of newspaper across the country, including the Miami Herald and Kansas City Star — said Thursday that it will continue to run normally as it pursues approval of its restructuring plan under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its 30 local newsrooms — which include North Carolina’s two biggest papers along with Durham’s The Herald-Sun — are operating as usual.

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. The company’s stock price — at $748 in March 2005 — was at 75 cents at closing the day before the news of its filing.

McClatchy has slashed staff in an effort to survive the ever-changing media landscape, but its $700 million in debt — triggered in part by the company’s takeover of rival Knight Ridder in 2006 for $4.5 billion, along with a reduction in ad revenue — has crippled the Sacramento-based company.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.