Groups bid to buy the Globe; Telegram & Gazette may also be sold.
One group is led by Boston Celtics co-owner and Bain Capital executive Stephen G. Pagliuca and Jack Connors, the chairman of Partners HealthCare and a former advertising mogul. The other is led by Stephen E. Taylor, a former Globe executive and a member of the family that sold the Globe to the Times Co. in 1993 for $1.1 billion.
Under an auction set up by The Times Co., interested bidders had until yesterday to sketch out plans for the newspaper and its site, boston.com. The Pagliuca and Connors group proposed a "civic approach" that would involve a nonprofit foundation to help fund and run the news operation, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. Under such a model, the goal would be to make enough money to support the Globe's journalism but without the pressures to make large profits.
The Times Co. is expected to review the bids and decide which bidders to invite to the next round.
The Boston Globe and boston.com are part of the New England Media Group, which also includes the Telegram & Gazette. While it is unknown if the properties of the New England Media Group would be sold separately or as a group, the Telegram & Gazette has reported that a group of civic and business leaders has stressed the importance of the T&G to the community and its emphasis on local news.
They have said a daily newspaper committed to local news is crucial to the area.
In mid-June, the T&G reported that potential suitors were interested in exploring the idea of putting up a stake in a group attempting to buy the T&G.
The New York Times Co. purchased the Telegram & Gazette in 2000 for $296 million and made it part of the New England Media Group, which includes The Boston Globe, purchased for $1.1 billion in 1993; Boston.com, a news and information Web site; and Globe Direct, a direct mail business operating from the T&G's Millbury plant. Industry experts suggested that in a difficult economy the T&G's price tag might now be $20 million to $25 million, with other estimates higher and lower.
Bidders would be expected to submit more specific proposals, and the Times Co. management would be expected to provide more information, such as walk-throughs of the facilities and other normal steps in the purchase of a business. A Times Co. spokeswoman declined to comment.
It was unclear yesterday whether others who have indicated interest in the Globe intended to submit bids. Mortimer "Mort" B. Zuckerman, the billionaire real estate executive who is publisher of the New York Daily News and chairman and editor-in-chief of US News and World Report, was out of the country and could not be reached.
Zuckerman requested the sale offering documents from the Times Co.'s investment banker, Goldman Sachs & Co., which has been hired to oversee a potential sale, according to a person briefed on Goldman's early contacts with possible bidders.
Real estate is likely to be a component of any bids the Times Co. receives for The Globe. The Globe's property value is assessed by the city of Boston at $12.9 million this year, and the building at $34.9 million, for a total value of nearly $48 million.
What potential bidders are willing to pay beyond that is uncertain, given that the Globe was projected to lose $85 million this year before recent cost cutting.
In Worcester, the Telegram & Gazette owns the main office on Franklin Street in the downtown area. That property is assessed at about $3 million. In addition, the T&G owns a large printing plant in Millbury, which is valued at about $7 million, according to tax assessment records.
The Times Co. has also asked that possible bidders include in their offers taking on $51 million in pension liabilities for the Globe and $8 million for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.