The Hearst Corporation to Purchase the San Francisco Chronicle

Posted on August 9, 1999

The Hearst Corporation and The Chronicle Publishing Company have jointly announced that agreement has been reached for the acquisition by Hearst of the San Francisco Chronicle, a morning newspaper published and distributed in the San Francisco Bay Area. The transaction, which is structured as an asset purchase for cash, also includes the acquisition by Hearst of the SF Gate website.

The announcement was made jointly by Frank A. Bennack, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hearst Corporation, and John B. Sias, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Chronicle Publishing Company.

Hearst also announced that it has engaged an investment banker, Veronis, Suhler & Associates Inc. of New York City, to seek a buyer for the San Francisco Examiner, a six-day afternoon newspaper owned by Hearst. Since 1965, the Examiner and the Chronicle have been printed and distributed under a joint operating agreement (JOA) between Hearst and Chronicle. If a qualified buyer is not found, Hearst stated that it would combine the Examiner with the morning Chronicle.

Following the transaction, Hearst said, all of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper employees and all employees of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency will be offered continued employment. If the Examiner is combined with the Chronicle, Hearst will also offer continued employment to all of the employees of the Examiner. If the Examiner is sold, any employees not offered employment by the buyer will be offered continued employment by Hearst at the Chronicle.

The San Francisco Chronicle, with a circulation of 482,268 daily, is the largest newspaper in northern California and the second largest on the West Coast. It was founded in 1865 by Charles and Michael deYoung and has been owned and operated over the succeeding 134 years by their heirs. William Randolph Hearst founded what is today The Hearst Corporation in 1887 when he assumed control of the San Francisco Examiner. For the last 112 years, the Examiner has been continuously published by Hearst. It currently has a circulation of 114,776 daily. Hearst and Chronicle jointly produce and distribute the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, which has a circulation of 605,356.