The McClatchy Company, which owns The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, and The Durham Herald-Sun, announced Thursday that it would skip pension payments for some of its more than 24,000 former employees.

The Sacramento Bee, owned by McClatchy, reported that the halt of “supplemental” and “non-qualified” retirement benefits would affect about 600 people, mostly former employees of the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, whose $4.5 billion acquisition in 2006 has left McClatchy with an unsustainable amount of debt.

Former employees of The Charlotte Observer may be affected.

The company still plans to pay guaranteed, insured pensions. The decision will not affect current operations, according to the statement given to Bee employees.

In November, McClatchy asked the federal government to bail out its pension fund after losing almost $305 million in revenue in the third quarter of the year. After announcing this request, the company’s shares dropped 12 percent, and continue to stay down. Its current market cap is only $4 million, and the company faces roughly $708 million in debt.

The company could face serious challenges meeting its $124 million pension obligations in 2020.

Contact digital content editor Sara Pequeño at 

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