Knight Ridder is weighing bids of at least $4.7 billion, according to media reports, in an auction of its properties that also serves as a proxy on investors' outlook toward the newspaper industry.

Knight Ridder Inc. had kept a tight lid on the bidding process, and maintained that stance Thursday evening after its deadline for bids had passed. Interested parties were known to include The McClatchy Co., publisher of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and other newspapers; industry leader Gannett Co. as well as MediaNews Group Inc., the privately held publisher of The Denver Post and dozens of other papers.

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