San Francisco — Hearst Corp. completed its $660 million purchase of the San Francisco Chronicle last night after a federal judge ruled that the acquisition won't hurt competition in the city's daily newspaper market.
Hearst also said it completed the sale of the San Francisco Examiner, its afternoon daily, to ExIn LLC, headed by local publisher Ted Fang. The sale includes $66 million in subsidies to ExIn to continue publishing the paper.
Clint Reilly, who had sued to stop the sale of the Chronicle, said he will challenge the transaction, arguing that it violates an injunction imposed at the start of the antitrust trial. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled yesterday that Hearst's purchase of the Chronicle won't hurt competition in the city's daily newspaper market.
"The court's ruling supports every position that we had taken throughout this matter with respect to the antitrust issues," Hearst spokesman Paul Luthringer said.
Reilly, a former political consultant, mayoral candidate and bidder for the Examiner, had argued that the subsidies were inadequate to ensure the survival of the rival Examiner. The two papers have operated under a joint operating agreement, allowing them to share profits while maintaining separate newsrooms, for 35 years.
Joseph Alioto, Reilly's attorney, said the judge's decision yesterday isn't a final judgment and therefore the sale of the Chronicle can't be closed. He said he's asking Walker to consider his motion challenging the sale's completion next week.
Reilly said he also will file a motion asking the judge to reconsider his decision in the case, and he is considering appealing Walker's decision.
"I strongly believe winning my case is important for the public interest," said Reilly at a press conference today in San Francisco. "I believe I have personally won by forcing a public trial for the first time in the history of this country on the closing and sale of a major metropolitan newspaper."