John Ellis, who knows his stuff, believes the best option for the Boston Globe is a prepackaged bankruptcy.
A Bush cousin and venture capitalist who used to write a column for the Globe, Ellis writes that he recently worked with a group that was considering buying the paper — and that they all walked away after concluding that the situation was “hopeless.”
“No one will buy it unless the unfunded liabilities are made to go away and the union contracts are voided,” writes Ellis, who pegs those liabilites at $100 million. “That isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact.”
No one is saying that things aren’t very bad at the Globe. When you look at the numbers, you come to the inescapable conclusion that the $20 million in cuts the New York Times Co. is demanding will only tide them over for a few months.
Still, Ellis isn’t predicting that the Globe will fold. That’s important to keep in mind. When I say that I’m cautiously optimistic — and I am — I’m not suggesting that we readers are going to live happily ever after.
The Globe that emerges from all this will be substantially smaller than even the shrunken paper we’ve become accustomed to. It may have a different owner. The print edition may be cut back to three or four days a week (but not eliminated, given that print ads are still the revenue-generators). But it will, I think, still be in business.
Gallows humor: Before I could post this item to Facebook, the anti-spam robot instructed me to type “assuage Times.”