Live in Boston, have access to at least $100 million or so and like a good challenge? You, too, could be a possible bidder for the Boston Globe, the latest asset being shopped by the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) The latest three names to emerge come courtesy of the Globe:
– Steve Taylor, a former Globe exec and part of the family who sold the paper to the Times for $1.1 billion in 1993. Taylor stayed on after the sale; he was the first publisher of Boston.com and headed Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, among other roles at the company. Taylor lectures on media at Yale and is a seed investor through his own Densefog Group LLC .
– Stephen Pagliuca, a managing director for PE firm Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics. He developed Bain & Company’s turnaround practice and at Bain Capital has been part of numerous media and tech deals. His current board memberships include The Gartner Group, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (FRA: PSM) and Burger King.
– Jack Connors, chairman of non-profit Partners HealthCare and a philanthropist . He started as an ad man, selling his agency in 1998 for more than $115 million, according to the Globe. He tried to buy the paper before as part of a group with Jack Welch back in 2006 when NYTCo wasn’t a seller. Now it’s a buyers’ market.
At the same time, the Globe threw cold water on a report Thursday from rival Boston Herald that Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. is also interested and has been in discussions. Each story is based on a source who doesn’t want to be identified. And John Henry, principle owner of the Boston Red Sox, tried — again — to remove his name from the pool, twittering last night that “I’m not buying a newspaper.”
More names are likely to swirl about as the bidding process proceeds, some testing the waters and some the result of wishful thinking. Will anyone actually bid? We’ll see.
Clearing up the labor situation with the Boston Newspaper Guild might help. Imposing a 23 percent pay cut on union members helps the NYTCo claim $20 million in reductions overall but the move is already being appealed to the National Labor Relations Board and could backfire. Prospective buyers want savings; they don’t want legal battles. The best shot would be a do-over with the Guild.