Holding your breath for word that potential buyers have actually submitted bids for the Boston Globe and sister paper Worcester Telegram & Gazette to the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) Co.? You can stop now unless you’re trying for an endurance record that lasts indefinitely. The company’s banker Goldman Sachs has extended today’s deadline at the request of serious interested parties who, the Globe reports, want to see what happens when the Newspaper Guild votes again on July 20.
Who can blame them? The Globe‘s largest union last month narrowly defeated an agreement to cut costs by $10 million, setting in effect a 23 percent wage cut and a megawave of hand wringing. Renewed negotiations resulted in another, slightly more palatable package of wage and benefit cuts that will be voted on July 20 and, barring a last-minute collapse, should be passed by people who got a look at paycheck totals without that 23 percent. Either way, the savings to the paper should amount to $10 million but the atmosphere and the potential problems will be quite different if the vote fails. The NYT reports that bids have been delayed until late July.
—In the hunt: The names being tossed about in public haven’t changed much since initial reports in June but the Globe says two have been given permission to bid together: Boston businessmen Jack Connors and Stephen Pagliuca. Former Globe exec Steve Taylor is also interested; his family sold the paper to NYTCo in 1993 for $1.1 billion. Buying it back, even with the T&G wouldn’t cost nearly as much—and NYTCo would keep the bulk of the pension liability. Globe execs told employees In May that the paper would be on pace to lose $85 million this year without major cost cutting. The media companies that might once have been interested are, for the most part, grappling with their own financial issues, including crippling debts from previous expansions.
By Staci D. Kramer