N.J. hedge fund wins bankruptcy auction for McClatchy newspapers

Chatham Asset Management, the Chatham-based hedge fund that owns the National Enquirer, has won the bankruptcy auction for the McClatchy newspaper chain, according to the publisher of the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star and others.

Sacramento, California-based McClatchy said Monday in a news release that Chatham was the winning bidder, enabling the company to exit Chapter 11 protection, “(A)s it entered it: In its totality, as one company serving 30 communities across America through its iconic local news titles.”

The proposed agreement will allow McClatchy to exit bankruptcy protection in the third quarter, subject to court confirmation and other customary conditions and approvals.

“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,” CEO and President Craig Forman said in a prepared statement.

“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.”

Chatham is the majority owner of American Media Inc., which publishes the famed tabloid and other publications.