According to the Boston Globe, whose reporters have an intense interest in the subject, a team led by former Globe executive Stephen Taylor stepped up to the plate Friday when final bids were due to buy the paper from the New York Times Company, but Platinum Equity refused to reveal whether it stayed in for the final round. Meanwhile, a local group of investors has bid to buy the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, which is also being offered.
Taylor’s family sold the Globe to the NY Times Co. for $1.1 billion in 1993. In the current state of the newspaper business, the pricing has come down a lot. Taylor’s group and that of Platinum, a leveraged buyout firm that owns the San Diego Union-Tribune, each offered about $35 million cash and the assumption of just under $60 million in pension obligations in the previous round of bidding.
Goldman Sachs is handling the bidding. The Times Co. has indicated it would prefer to sell the two Massachusetts papers as a package, but would also consider bids for only one or the other. The company has also said it could reject all bids and keep the papers.
The bidder the Globe story has now identified as seeking the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is a group of Worcester businessmen led by Ralph D. Crowley Jr., CEO of Polar Beverages, described as the largest independent bottler in the US. There was no word on pricing. The Times Co. bought that paper for $296 million in 2000.
RBR-TVBR observation: Even with the deep cost cuts instituted in recent months, no one has claimed that the Globe is yet approaching break-even. Quite frankly, we don’t understand how anyone could justify a bid of $95 million. We’re glad it’s not our money.