Friday was deadline day for bidders seeking to make an offer to buy the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette from the New York Times Co. And it appears there’s not much to report.
New York Times media reporter Richard Pérez-Peña writes that it’s not even clear whether the two contenders for the Globe, a group led by former Globe executive Stephen Taylor and California-based Platinum Equity, had submitted bids.
Each had reportedly offered to pay $35 million as well as assume pension liabilities of $59 million. Jessica Heslam had reported in the Boston Herald that the estimate of those liabilities had recently been revised upward to $115 million. Pérez-Peña quotes sources who confirm the upward revision, but suggest the error was not quite as great as that.
It’s hard to know what to believe. I can tell you that I’ve heard the actual pension liabilities may be even higher than what Heslam’s sources told her. The truth may be that such estimates are hard to nail down, and that opinions differ.
Meanwhile, Telegram & Gazette reporter Shaun Sutner breaks the news that former T&G editor Harry Whitin is involved in a group that is seeking to buy the paper separately — the first indication that the Globe and the T&G might be split up. (The Globe runs the story as well.)
The money guy is identified as Ralph Crowley, the president and CEO of Polar Beverages.
The Times Co. bought the Globe in 1993 for $1.1 billion and the T&G in 2000 for $296 million.
Several months ago, a T&G source explained to me all the multifarious ways that Globe and T&G operations had been combined over the years. I was left with the distinct impression that it would be an expensive proposition to try to separate the two at this point.
But if the two papers end up with different owners, I suppose it wouldn’t be that difficult for them to reach an agreement to continue joint operations that make sense.