The second biggest newspaper publisher in the US, Knight Ridder, has bowed to investor pressure and is looking for possible buyers.

It has reluctantly instructed investment bankers Goldman Sachs to "explore strategic alternatives" as it struggles to boost depressed stock values.

California-headquartered KR, which owns 32 daily papers, has been under fire from principle shareholder Bruce Sherman and others for several weeks [WAMN: 03-Nov-05] over its poor performance.

The publisher, in common with many of its rivals, is battling with declining advertising revenues, higher newsprint costs and a slide in sales. In the six months to the end of September newspaper circulation in the US dropped 2.6%, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

KR's ceo Tony Ridder is an unenthusiastic vendor, but even if that were not the case some industry analysts doubt that buyers would consider the current $4 billion (€3.42bn; £2.3bn) price tag when faced with the industry's uncertain future.

KR has declined to comment.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online and; additional content by WARC staff