McClatchy Announces Agreements To Sell And Lease Back Real Property In Sacramento, California And Columbia, South Carolina

McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) (“McClatchy” or “the company”) announced that it has entered into separate agreements to sell and lease back real property owned by The Sacramento Bee in Sacramento, California and The State Media Company in Columbia, South Carolina for total gross proceeds of $67.8 million.

The Sacramento Bee entered into a transaction with Shopoff Advisors, L.P. (“Shopoff”), to sell its real property which includes The Sacramento Bee building and surrounding land and buildings. Simultaneously with the closing of the sale, McClatchy will enter into a 15-year lease with Shopoff to leaseback the real property with initial annual lease payments of approximately $4.6 million.

This transaction excludes a parking garage formerly owned by The Sacramento Bee, which was sold for $5.75 million in a transaction that closed in December 2016.

In a separate but similar transaction, The State Media Company contracted with a subsidiary of Twenty Lake Holdings, (“Twenty Lake”) to sell its real property including The State building and surrounding land. McClatchy will enter into a 15-year lease with Twenty Lake with initial annual lease payments of approximately $1.6 million.

These transactions are subject to customary closing conditions and are expected to close in the second quarter of 2017.

Elaine Lintecum, McClatchy’s chief financial officer said, “We are pleased that in less than one year of marketing these properties, we were able to collaborate with two strong investors like Shopoff and Twenty Lake to sell the properties at or near our asking prices and lease them back for our operations.

“These sale-leaseback transactions are one more step in moving forward with our real estate monetization efforts to redeploy our capital for better uses for the benefit of our shareholders and bondholders. We generally expect to reduce debt with the proceeds of these transactions.”

A repurchase clause included in both of the lease agreements to be entered into at the closing of the transactions will offer an option for the company to repurchase the real property at the end of the 15-year lease term. As a result, the leases are expected to be accounted for under GAAP as financing leases. Lease payments will reduce the related lease obligation on the balance sheet and include interest expense associated with the obligation.
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