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TWO BIDDERS GET BOSTON GLOBE TOURS.

While one of the potential suitors of the Boston Globe didn't get invited for a tour of the facilities last week, two did, as its owner, The New York Times Co., continued the sale process for the 302,638-circulation daily, the nearby Worcester Telegram & Gazette and their web sites.

The Globe reported on Friday that the two suitors -- one, a group led by Stephen Taylor, a former Globe executive who is a member of the family that sold the paper to The Times Co. in 1993, the other, Platinum Equity Holdings of Beverly Hills, Calif. -- will tour the paper's offices and two printing plants sometime around Labor Day.

The paper reported the two had made offers for the operations of about $35 million, as well as agreeing to take on $59 million in pension liabilities.

The other group of suitors, led by co-owner of the Boston Celtics basketball franchise Stephen Pagliuca and former advertising executive Jack Connors, has proposed a non-profit model for the papers and web site and apparently are expecting The Times Co. to donate the operations to the non-profit. They apparently didn't a tour invitation.

In other newspaper mergers and acquisitions news, MSNBC.com said last week it had acquired EveryBlock.com, a developer of computer applications that allow for providing hyper-local information. EveryBlock was founded in 2007 by Adrian Holovaty, formerly of WashingtonPost.com and was funded by a two-year, $1.1 million grant from the Knight Foundation.

PaidContent.org speculated that the deal was worth "the low single-digit millions" though neither MSNBC.com nor Everyblock provided any details.

Under the Knight grant, Holovaty's code must be provided as free and open source and Holovaty said he had met that obligation by publishing the code when the grant ran out on June 30. But, Holovaty and Charlie Tillinghast, MSNBC.com's president, both said EveryBlock is no longer under any obligation to provide updates to the code and that under the published license, it has the right to make improvements without providing access to those updates.

In other publishing M&A news, News Corp. said on Friday that it is contemplating the sale of its stock-indexing business. The Wall Street Journal said that News Corp. had retained Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to shop around the operation, which includes the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The paper said sales discussions are "moving in fits and starts" and that a sale might not even happen. It estimated the business at being worth about $700 million.

I guess that Pagliuca and Connors -- who are reputed to be pretty smart guys -- may have outsmarted themselves by not offering up some actual cash. Though if they can build an endowment that wouldn't require the Globe to actually make money, that might be attractive to the Ochs-Sulzberger family. In that instance, the non-profit probably wouldn't buy the buildings anyway, hence no need for tours.

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Publication:NewsInc
Date:Aug 24, 2009
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