Bay Area Newspaper Group Sold: Knight-Ridder Inc. will acquire Lesher Communications Inc. for $360 million, expanding its newspaper readership in some of the area’s most affluent suburbs, including Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The closely held Lesher group, based in Walnut Creek, publishes four newspapers in the East Bay cities and suburbs, with a combined daily circulation of about 200,000. They are the Contra Costa Times, West County Times, Ledger Dispatch and San Ramon Valley Times. The papers will continue to publish independently and no layoffs are planned, Miami-based Knight-Ridder said.
<i> Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>