Recently I cited a Wall Street Journal piece by former Boston Globe columnist John Ellis as evidence that the New York Times Co. would not sell the Globe — at least not until it had managed to goose up its value.
Well, last night I checked out Ellis’ infrequently updated blog and discovered that he’s taken it back. He’s posted his entire Journal column, so you can finally read it without a subscription. But he adds this, in reference to Times Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr.:
I now think he should sell all of the “New England assets” (The Globe, the Worcester paper, the Red Sox stake and the NESN stake), and gather up $1 billion-plus. This would enable the Times company to enter the next (2009-2010?) recession loaded with cash.
The fact is that the Globe is doomed. Without union concessions, the cost structure doesn’t work. And the unions will never concede anything, ever. So the NYT might as well get $600 million for it now, rather than $300 million for it in 2010.
Of course, $600 million is the price that retired GE chairman Jack Welch‘s group has floated for buying just the Globe.
Interesting, speculative though it is. Ellis does not specify what kind of “union concessions” the Times Co. needs. It’s certainly my impression that Globe management is already squeezing the union pretty hard.
I did a Technorati search to see whether I was the first blogger to stumble across Ellis’ revisionist theorizing, and discovered that a financial site called Controlled Greed posted on this yesterday.