Would Google buy Knight Ridder?

There is something peversely fascinating about the idea of a big distributed services portal–like Google, Yahoo or eBay–buying Knight Ridder, a newspaper chain with a well-run–and growing– digital media group–as the Wall Street Journal suggests in a story today. After all, the bigger newspaper groups have been pushing hard to roll their unique visitors up into large enough numbers to play meaningfully with the paid search big boys, and the eBays and Google of the world–not to mention HotJobs and Yahoo–have taken enough big, profitable bites of the classified and directory markets to know that the local distribution newspapers offer can give them a competitive edge.
And yet, on the other hand, having KR be acquired by one of these brands seems unlikely. For one thing, none of them have a practice of acquiring widely diversified holdings–most of their acquisitions have been coherent with an overall strategy and digital delivery platforms. For another, while alot of the revenue growth in the company seems to be coming from online, the dollars generated by the local papers–and the proportionate share of local media they command in their markets–is too great to dismantle–or ignore.
It’s just not the most pragmatic decision–for a digitally-driven company to buy one with lots of presses and delivery trucks–and yet is offers a fascinating concept of how to fast forward to the future….after all, wouldn’t the Google-ites perhaps have a fresh look at how to build a cost structure that was both distributed (they’ve done it on a global scale) and centralized?
And wouldn’t a digital media or tech company have some fresh points of view on the paralyzing costs of operating the legacy systems and processes that keep many people employed–but make the growth margins deadly?
This is one of those wildly speculative questions to me–if KR did sell, it is unlikely (IMHO) it would go to any of these players–but I’d like to think we’d see some new approaches to systems and legacies–and a continued appreciation of the power–and responsibility–of the press–if one of these digital players did make the buy.
Susan sez: This could be interesting–or it could just die down.