Who Knew the Boston Herald Was Worth $12 Million?

February 14, 2018

Eat your heart out, Mort Zuckerman.

Back in September, the real estate magnate sold the legendary New York Daily News to Tronc (rhymes with bonk) for exactly $1 – 50¢ less than the price of the paper’s Sunday edition.

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, Tronc did assume $30 million in operational and pension liabilities, but hey – a dollar’s a dollar, yeah?

Boston Herald owner Pat Purcell, on the other hand, scooped up a helluva lot more in yesterday’s bake sale of the shaky local tabloid.

From Brian Dowling’s piece in today’s edition of the soldy local tabloid:

Digital First Media enters $11.9M top bid for Boston Herald

Digital First Media won the Boston Herald in a 5-hour bankruptcy auction with a top $11.9 million bid that all but settles who will carry the news organization into the next chapter of the city’s media history.

The newspaper company, which operates as Media News Group and owns hundreds of publications across the country, including the Denver Post, bested two other suitors — GateHouse Media and Revolution Capital. Digital First also owns the Lowell Sun and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise in Massachusetts.

 

But that doesn’t mean it’s all roses and lollipops at Fargo Street. As the Boston Globe’s Jon Chesto reports, Digital First Media “has earned a reputation for relentless cost-cutting” – not a good omen for the Herald rank and file.

And, as our kissin’ cousins at One-Daily Town recently noted, Digital First just ditched the Sentinel & Enterprise’s brick-and-mortar home for a “virtual newsroom.”

So maybe you Heraldniks might want to bring some of your personal items home.

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Kevin ‘Cullen’ It in Today’s Column About the Herald

January 12, 2018

So, to recap:

On Wednesday, Boston Herald reporter Brian Dowling had this piece in the selfie local tabloid.

Herald execs’ pay disclosed in bankruptcy filings

Premium salaries as bankruptcy neared

The Herald paid substantial salaries to its publisher and top executive as the newspaper’s finances grew dire and management directed the company to a bankruptcy sale, according to court papers.

Patrick J. Purcell, the Herald’s publisher, took home $970,092 in the year prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing in Delaware on Dec. 8, according to papers in the ongoing bankruptcy case. His compensation included fringe benefits of a golf membership and use of a company vehicle.

 

Among others, Jeff Jacoby, late of the shaky local tabloid, applauded the paper for running the story (tip o’ the pixel to the redoubtable Dan Kennedy’s Media Nation).

 

 

Now comes today’s piece by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, in which he whacks Purcell and waxes nostalgic about the feisty local tabloid.

Herald mogul takes a hit

It was the perfect Boston Herald story: Greedy entrepreneur runs business into the ground, walks away to his myriad mansions with pockets lined with millions while working stiffs are left holding the bag.

Remarkably, that story, which ran in Wednesday’s Herald pretty much straight, without typical tabloid excess, was about the publisher of the Boston Herald, Pat Purcell. It noted that in the year leading up to the Herald filing for bankruptcy and being put up for sale, Purcell was paying himself an annual salary of almost a million dollars, while doling out some $265,000 in salaries among his three daughters.

If you ask me, the best argument for wanting the Herald to survive was on robust display when reporter Brian Dowling wrote that story and the Herald courageously printed it.

 

(Spoiler alert: Purcell does not come across as a sympathetic character in the piece. But Herald staffers do.)

Cullen’s column a far cry from this mash note Globe owner John Henry published when Purcell first announced the sale last month.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Pat Purcell’s service to Boston

Patrick J. Purcell, longtime owner and publisher of the Boston Herald, is someone who has spent most of his adult life tending to one of the most essential tasks of our democracy: leading civic conversations that are sometimes contentious but are invariably important. While his efforts on behalf of journalism for the city are well known, the personal impact he has had on so many over decades isn’t as well known.

Boston knows Pat as the driven media executive who long ago bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch and infused it with a very strong vision for his adopted city. But he is also unfailingly described as a loyal friend and devoted family man, who landed here after a colorful career in New York and became a Bostonian to the core.

 

Which, apparently, means greedy and heartless.

 


In Boston Herald Sale, Employees Are the Wishbone

January 3, 2018

Full disclosure: The hardreading staff forgot to get an MBA, so we might be off in this analysis. But the two bids to buy the Boston Herald clearly have very different interests at heart.

Start with the new offer from Revolution Capital Group, as described today by Herald reporter Brian Dowling.

Second potential buyer makes offer for Boston Herald

A Los Angeles investment group is pledging a $5.75 million bid for the Boston Herald, the second public bid for the tabloid since it filed for bankruptcy in December.

Revolution Capital Group filed its bid yesterday with the federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The company previously offered to buy the Herald in 2013.

Components of Revolution’s bid add up to more than the $5 million offer that newspaper giant GateHouse Media made last month.

 

But it’s not just more – it’s who gets more. “Revolution is offering $3 million cash for the company, agreeing to honor $750,000 of paid time off for employees who join the company, and is pledging to pay out $2 million in severance.”

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Jon Chesto reminds us what the deal is with GateHouse.

GateHouse proposed paying $4.5 million in cash, as well as at least $500,000 in assumed liabilities, including paid time off owed to employees.

 

Unless our math skills fail us, that means Herald owner Pat Purcell gets $1.5 million less from a sale to Revolution, while employees at the shaky local tabloid get $2.25 million more.

Maybe that’s why “[the] new bid drew immediate praise from the Communications Workers of America, which represents more than 100 unionized workers at the Herald,” according to Chesto.

But Poynter Institute media business analyst Rick Edmonds points to Revolution’s acquisition of the Tampa Tribune in 2012, which it then sold to Poynter, owner of the Tampa Tribune, four years later. Edmonds told Chesto he thinks Revolution would likewise flip the Herald in a few years.

Long-term, Edmonds said, “[GateHouse does] make cuts themselves, and they have profit targets that they’re trying to hit. [But] they have a body of resources and competence that I don’t think Revolution Capital has.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the bankruptcy judge sorts that out.