Dan Primack’s latest:
First, it has been reconfirmed that the sale is for the entire company, which includes The Boston Herald, over 100 community papers in Eastern Massachusetts and a sweet piece of Boston real estate. Second, Wachovia [the firm that’s managing the sale] received over 10 first-round bids last Thursday from both strategic and private equity players, of which a handful will be invited back into Round 2. Third, Heritage Partners [which owns Quincy’s Patriot Ledger and Brockton’s Enterprise] is looking more like a seller than a buyer. If it is ultimately involved in this deal, expect it to package its Enterprise NewsMedia LLC platform along with Herald Media for a buyer looking for significant regional expansion. Finally, the whole thing should be wrapped up by the end of Q1 2006.
Very interesting. If this all plays out — and, granted, it sounds more complicated than the Red Sox’ attempt to move Edgar Renteria — it sounds like a big media company could move in and take charge not only of the Herald and its associated 100-plus community papers, but also of the Ledger and the Enterprise.
Two aspects of this are particularly worth watching:
1. Primack’s reporting would seem to suggest that Herald Media’s principal owner, Pat Purcell, is not looking just to replace the venture capitalists who want out, but to sell his entire company. Anything’s possible, of course, but it looks like the end of the Purcell era looms. Unless —
2. Whoever buys Herald Media is so smitten with Purcell’s newspaper-management skills that the new owners decide to keep Purcell on. But I wonder. By aggressively taking the Herald downscale over the past few years, it strikes me that Purcell blew the best opportunity he had to reinvent his flagship and turn it into something that would be more attractive to advertisers — not to mention readers.