McClatchy at Six-Year High, Other Stakeholders Firm On Cars.com Possible Sale

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Media and publishing firm The McClatchy Company (MNI) was 17% higher Monday on news of the possible sale of auto sales website Cars.com, in which it has a sizable stake.

MNI has a 25.6% stake in Classified Ventures LLC, the newspaper consortium owner of Cars.com and Apartments.com. McClatchy, along with Gannett Co (GCI), Tribune Co (TRBAA-OTC), The Washington Post and A.H. Belo (AHC), could benefit from a sale of Cars.com as the market continues to price these successful online brands at attractive levels, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Cars.com, the big auto shopping and research site owned by a consortium of large newspaper publishers, could fetch $3 billion, the WSJ reported.

Moelis & Co is advising Classified Ventures LLC in the early stage of discussions regarding a Cars.com sale.

A deal could likely mean the wind-down of the consortium, Classified Ventures, which last week announced a deal to sell its other primary property, Apartments.com, for $585 million to CoStar Groupo (CSGP).

In related news, Cars.com reports extremely high new and used car inventory following a challenging winter weather season.

Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Cars.com said, “Consumers will benefit from automakers and dealers who are willing to move standing inventory at a steep discount, with the most attractive specials found in large-vehicle segments. For those in the market for a new car, there are some excellent deals to take advantage of.”

MNI hit a six-year high of $7.32 per share on volume of 2 million shares in midday Monday trade, almost four times an average daily trading. The 52-week price range for MNI is $2.13 – $7.32 per share.

TRBAA is up 2.8% at $83.50 per share, near a 52-week high of $$84.85 per share.
GCI is up 2%, near a 52-week high of $30.43 per share. AHC is up 3.5%, hitting $12.18 per share near all-time high levels.

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