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The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) has hired Goldman Sachs to manage a possible sale of the Boston Globe, according to the paper. The investment bank already reps the company in its efforts to sell its 17.75 percent stake in New England Sports Ventures, LLC, the company that owns the Red Sox, Fenway Park and regional sports net NESN; so far, no results and it’s hard to believe the Globe is more attractive at this point than the Red Sox.
Citing potential bidders as sources, the Globe says the investment bank has been telling interested parties that bids would be accepted after the June 8 Boston Newspaper Guild vote on concessions. That vote failed narrowly, but the company quickly notified its largest union that a 23 percent pay cut was going into effect. Message to prospective buyers: either way, we’re cutting costs by the $20 million we promised.
That should make the paper more attractive to folks willing to consider the acquisition of a major metro daily in today’s environment. Is it enough to overcome the negative atmosphere around newspapers, the very public admissions by the company that its New England group, including the Globe, is struggling even more than others in the category — and the legal wrangling that already has started over those imposed cuts?
And the biggest question of all? Who would buy the Globe, acquired by NYTCo for $1.1 billion back in 1993? Other newspaper companies are leveraged out the wazoo and I’m not sure private equity firms, even the turnaround kind, would be in the hunt. Civic interest in maintaining a paper is the best hope but who might emerge on the hometown front? The Red Sox said in late April that no one involved with the team was part of talks to acquire the Globe, dashing the notion of a Globe-Red Sox combo. Jack Welch expressed interest in distant past but calling the potential seller’s labor tactics “brutish,” as he did today on Twitter, is not a good sign.
Labor update: Meanwhile, the Guild has filed the expected complaint with the NLRB over the imposed pay cut, some reporters have appealed to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and NYTCo says it has no plans to bargain further with the Guild. A Monday meeting is set to talk about imposing the pay cut but, according to the paper, a Globe executive told the union: