The Boston Globe reported last week that two of the three would-be purchasers of the New England Media Group – including the Telegram and Gazette - have been invited to tour operations sometime in early September.
The two groups are California-based investment firm Platinum Equity, and a group led by Stephen Taylor, whose family sold the Globe to the NYT Co. in 1993. Both groups submitted reported bids of around $35 million (plus an assumption of $59 million in pension liabilities), which would cover the two newspapers, and their respective websites and printing facilities.
The third group to submit a bid, apparently out of the running now, was advertising mogul Jack Connors and venture capitalist Stephen Pagliuca.
The ongoing process could mean that Globe staffers are safe for now, reports the Boston Herald today.
The same is likely true for the Telegram, which has gone through several rounds of major staff cuts over the past few years, and has never been in as precarious a financial situation as the Globe. The fact that NYT Co. executives have cleaned up their properties enough to make them attractive to suitors – and the fact that suitors are seriously interested – means that further cuts will most likely wait until a sale takes place.
But that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming to the dailys. In a financial filing earlier this month, the NYT Co. revealed it will almost certainly start charging for online content in the near future; such charges are a given at the Globe, though they remain an unknown at the Telegram.
Within a day of accomplishing what they said were the necessary cost savings at the Boston Globe by slashing employee salaries 23%, the New York Times Co. has hired Goldman Sachs to facilitate a possible sale of the Boston paper, and sources said bids would be accepted over the next few weeks.
Could that mean the Telegram and Gazette will be for sale?
Things continue to look down for the New York Times Company.
The company posted net losses of $74.5 million for the first quarter this year as advertising revenues sank 27% organization wide.
NY Times Co. continued to point the finger at the Boston Globe and Telegram & Gazette piece of the company, saying the losses were “mainly because of significant losses at the New England Media Group.” Advertising revenue in that segment was the weakest companywide, sinking 31.6%, compared to 27.3% at the New York Times Media Group and 29.3% at the Regional Media Group.
The latest newspaper circulation numbers are in and – stop us if you’ve heard this one – it doesn’t look pretty.
The Telegram & Gazette continued to struggle, posting about a 4% drop in daily circulation from last year to this year’s 81,437 daily average. And that includes a change in methodology from last year, when the average included Saturday, a notorious slow day for papers. This year’s data is a Monday-Friday average.
But it is Sundays that have been particularly bad for Franklin Street. Sunday circulation is down 6.2% from last year, to 96,553, following a 5.9% drop last year.
The T&G is hardly alone. Of the top 25 papers nationwide, only two – USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal experienced a daily average increase. And the Boston Globe was the worst performing of the top papers, falling 8.34% over the past year.
Things that you wouldn’t see until tomorrow, if this fancy interweb thing didn’t exist.
HEY, TEACHERS: The most visible presence at City Council meetings the past several weeks has been members and officials from the Worcester teacher’s union, EAW. What originally started as one or two representatives holding signs proclaiming their need for more money has turned into a weekly showing of numbers; at Tuesday’s meeting, the crowd filled the lower chamber and the balcony to listen to an impassioned five minute speech from EAW head Cheryl DelSignore on the need for more funds. Like usual, the meeting was also attended by representatives from most of the major police, fire, and public safety unions. Be clear though, it’s no show of unified strength. While they aren’t derisive, privately union members are clear that they feel as they always have: that their particular union should get the better deal, any extra money, etc.
THE PANHANDLE CITY: Standing on street corners (or in the middle of the street) and asking for money is still frowned upon in Worcester; that is, unless you are an approved charity. Sanctioned panhandling season begins this weekend with a “boot drive” standout on city streets by firefighters raising money for charity. The little league teams and gymnastic clubs can’t be far behind.
DELEGATION IRRITATION: The sudden news that the new state hospital isn’t going to be the size expected has local elected officials riled up. State Representative Vincent Pedone says he wasn’t told about the changes in the plan until he was called by Telegram reporter Lee Hammel on Tuesday. “The lack of communication is systemic within the Secretary of Health and Human Service organization, and the secretary needs to be more open and communicative to the legislature.” He also says that nothing is written in stone. “This project hasn’t been finalized yet, and there are a number of suggestions that I and a lot of the Central Mass delegation are going to make.” That’s legislative-speak for “We’re going to tell them how pissed we are, and make them change it.”
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From around the papers and blogs:
- That Scorsese movie that couldn’t be filmed at the old Worcester State Hospital because of the construction that was going to be in full swing by now? Yeah, Medfield got it instead. And Brendan Melican says that Rep. Vincent Pedone’s quotes about a hospital being more important and valuable than a movie are “describing…the exact opposite of investment, it’s a divestment.”
- Mike B (and others) got arrested; he talks about the experience with Melican on this week’s 508. The pair also talk about tennis courts vs. the Antiquarian Society, and Joff Smith vs. Dr. Dre. vs. Thomas Jefferson.
- The Great Worcester Salary Debate of 2008 rages. And rages. And rages.
- Bill Randell gets some needed answers to his questions on the airport.
- And The Phoenix’s Adam Reilly suggests that a recent New York Times board move could have longterm implications for the ownership and health of the Boston Globe, and thus the Telegram & Gazette.