Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Tony Ridder What-If

Tony Ridder lost his company, his professional identity and, briefly, his cool when McClatchy bought Knight-Ridder. He has since dealt away some of his stock, in a good timing-bad timing kind of deal.
Through the journalistically invaluable site, it's possible to quickly track insider trading. We find that Mr. Ridder last November sold 29,800 shares, valued at $407,249.
Nice, right? But look at it this other way: McClatchy shares were trading at $13.66 when he sold. In July 2006, when Knight Ridder went away, McClatchy shares were hovering around $24; or, in Mr. Ridder's terms, $715,200. Lost opportunity, right? But look at it this other, other way. McClatchy closed Tuesday at $3.53. If Mr. Ridder had held on to sell yesterday, it would brought only $105,194.


Anonymous said...

Tony Ridder's astoundingly bad judgment, poor timing and reckless greed cost the very soul of KRI and for what? Selling to MNI as he did and then being shocked - shocked! - that the company was sliced up for sale and gutted for remaining profit may be one of the worst and most callous business decisions of the new century.
Ridder, a legacy exec. who never would have attained success on his own, minus the surname, is a figure of derision and contempt by anyone with more than a passing familiarity with the workings of his "leadership" and the sale. Selling a child to a gypsy band in exchange for some beads a bottle of hootch would make more sense.
Glad his stake in the company is devalued and I hope he makes poor decisions with his nest egg going forward. Then he can join the rest of us once-enthusiastic KRI types now skipping vacations, shopping at Wal Mart and sending kids to state colleges. Burn in hell, you silver spoon dope.

Anonymous said...

Why should I be surprised? Tony Ridder has spent his life trashing great newspapers in a singular pursuit of his own wealth and well-being. He's the reverse flip of Citizen Kane, a publisher who destroyed a newspaper empire rather than build on its strengths. Money drove him to do this, and money was and remains his only interest. My only hope is that the cashing out of his MNI interests indicates he is in dire need of more cash. My most cherished wish in life is to see Tony Ridder on a street corner selling apples. No, I won't buy one from him, even then.

Amy Lander said...

Tony Ridder didn't choose to sell KR. The sale was forced by stock broker Bruce Sherman, the CEO of Private Capitol Management. Sherman felt the sale would improve the value of the KR stock held by his firm and by him personally. In fact the sale briefly increased the value of the stock about $5 per share. Sherman celebrated soon after by spending about $10 million at a wine auction Naples, FL.

Peter Sinclair said...

My heart is breaking for Tony.

I'll never forget his campaign to keep the Miami Heat from moving to the new arena in Broward which lead to the construction of yet another arena in Miami.

A few months later, Tony moved Knight Ridder to San Jose.

He got a very nice moving allowance as part of that deal, too.

He's the best!

Anonymous said...

Bruce Sherman is a convenient straw man for the "forcing" of the KR empire sale. (And then he got out of media coverage - psych!)
Bullshoot. The company could have been spun off into sectors - by circ. size or geography - or taken private and allowed to chug along at decent profits.
Wall St. vultures with short term thinking who want ever-better returns cannot be blamed here. The public company was under pressure to produce profit in the 20-25% range or better, a wet dream for most businesses. A private company that retained the franchise in the cities served could be been sought. Companies go private all the time.
Tony, and your cheatin' son Par, bite me. Your obit will be a list of failures and even poor parenting - nice values transmitted there. You should seek professional help and then change your name and move to Bolivia, maybe where the Germans took up residence in the late 1940s.
What goes around come!

Siddhartha Vicious said...

I suspect that if Tony unloaded 29,800 shares, he still has a few hundred thousand left in his portfolio, hemorraging value by the day. Maybe he sold those shares because he'd finally burned through his multimillion-dollar golden parachute after the McClatchy takeover.

When Tony ran Knight-Ridder, he was a useless, clueless dolt, as anyone who witnessed him in action will attest. The best comment I've heard about him is as close to the mark as you can get: If he weren't his father's son, he'd probably be running a three-store chain of dry cleaners in the Twin Cities, with his useless son Par as his delivery boy.

The saving grace of McClatchy's takeover of Knight-Ridder is that the remaining papers in the chain are circling the drain a little slower than they would be if Tony were still in charge.

Kansaskeith said...

Interesting analysis, Doyle. Your historical facts are a bit off, though. KRI went away in late June, not July, of 2006, and the MNI price at that time was a tax over $39, not $24. I remember, but just checked historical prices on Yahoo! Finance to confirm, meaning on paper Mr. R. got hammered worse than you thought.

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