McClatchy CEO: Moves Not Prelude To Going Private

NEW YORK (Reuters) – McClatchy Co (MNI.N) Chief Executive Gary Pruitt’s resignation as a co-trustee of trusts held by the U.S. newspaper publisher’s controlling family should not be read as a prelude to the company going private or changing its capital structure, he said on Wednesday.

Pruitt’s comments in a statement were a response to a Wall Street Journal column in Wednesday’s paper titled “A Grim Sign for McClatchy Shareholders?”

It said that McClatchy is more likely to undergo a refinancing deal than going private as a way of dealing with its plummeting income and advertising revenue, and that Pruitt’s decision to quit the trusts was an “ominous sign.”

“This was my independent decision and it should not be read as a precursor to any move by the company or McClatchy family, including taking the company private or altering its capital structure,” Pruitt said. “Any statements or speculation to the contrary are incorrect.”

McClatchy’s stock fell more than 11 percent earlier in the day. Shares now are down 22 cents, or 6.23 percent, to $3.31 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)