Boston Globe Scoops the Herald on Herald Sale

February 15, 2018

For the past several months, the Boston Globe has been playing catch-up to the Herald in covering the sale of the feisty local tabloid.

Today the Globe caught up.

Under the unusual byline “Globe Staff,” the stately local broadsheet reported the details of yesterday’s bake sale.

Bidding for Herald jumped by millions at auction

Digital First Media is poised to become the new owner of the Boston Herald after besting competitors with multiple higher bids during a bankruptcy auction Tuesday that netted nearly $12 million, according to newly filed court documents.

A transcript of the auction held in the office of Herald law firm Brown Rudnick revealed that Digital First opened with a bid valued at around $7.6 million — higher than the offers already in place from two other competitors, GateHouse Media and Revolution Capital Group.

After GateHouse countered Digital First with a slightly higher offer, Revolution Capital dropped out, leaving the two competitors to trade bids several times until Digital First’s final offer proved too rich for GateHouse, according to a transcript of the auction filed with bankruptcy court in Delaware.

 

And Digital’s final offer? “The Denver-based company, which owns daily and weekly newspapers in Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and several other states, prevailed with a final offer of $9.6 million in cash, $1 million in accrued paid time off to employees, and another $1.4 million in assumed liabilities.”

Crosstown at the Herald, reporter Brian Dowling didn’t have those numbers, but he did spotlight what exactly that breakdown means.

This year, the pension, severance and retirement payments to employees were estimated to reach $3.5 million, according to court papers. The pension, severance and retirement accounts had accrued nearly $25 million in liabilities when the company filed for bankruptcy.

 

Obviously $2.4 million isn’t gonna put much of a dent in that. Dowling also reported that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is “urging Herald ownership to strike a deal to save workers’ pensions.”

All due respect, Mistah Mayah, the corn is off the cob – unless the bankruptcy judge steps in to change the deal. We’ll find out tomorrow.

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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.


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.

 


John Henry Held Hostage by Boston Herald, Day One

December 14, 2017

From our Hark! The Herald! desk

It’s always entertaining – and sometimes enlightening – when the Boston Herald covers itself, and this story in today’s edition is no exception.

Judge approves Herald to continue business as usual

The Herald’s lights will stay on and it can pay most of its bills during the bankruptcy process, a Delaware judge ruled, as the newspaper enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy eyeing a late February sale to GateHouse Media.

Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein yesterday gave interim approval for business at the Herald to continue mostly as usual, including paying for utilities, payroll and insurance policies, as lawyers piece through the newspaper’s bankruptcy filing and GateHouse’s $4.5 million offer.

 

But not to pay the selfie local tabloid’s printer. “Herald bankruptcy attorney Bill Baldiga said the judge delayed approving payments to The Boston Globe for amounts owed for printing, delivery, inserts and paper returns, given uncertainty about the totals.”

What’s absolutely certain, though, is that the Herald owes the Globe “an estimated $600,000,” according to the former’s bankruptcy filing reproduced in the Boston Business Journal.

So it might not be a coincidence that Globe publisher John Henry wrote this mash note atop today’s editorial page.

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 the most essential task of our democracy: leading civic conversations in Boston that are sometimes contentious but are invariably important. While his efforts on behalf of journalism for the city are very well known, the personal impact he has had on so many over decades isn’t as familiar.

Our city knows Purcell as the driven media executive who bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch in 1994. But he’s 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 his core.

 

Of course, Henry wouldn’t be so crass as to include an invoice in the editorial, although he did mention the Globe’s printing facility:

“I was giving Pat a tour of the Globe’s new print facility in Taunton about a year ago and as we walked through, people would seek him out just to shake his hand and thank him for things he had quietly done for them personally, or for something he had done to help a family member or associate.”

Guilt . . . guilt . . . guilt . . .

The bankruptcy court will address payments to the Globe on January 4. We’ll see if Henry’s still feeling this collegial after that.


Red Sox Presidential Pitches Are High and Wide

February 17, 2016

The Boston Red Sox are suddenly players in the 2016 presidential race, but at least two of them aren’t exactly on the same team.

Start with Kyle Clauss’s Boston Magazine piece yesterday.

Billionaire John Henry Wants Billionaire Mike Bloomberg to Run for President

The two-party system is broken, so why not an oligarchy?

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.01.28 PM

Red Sox principal owner John Henry celebrated Presidents Day by urging former three-term New York mayor Michael Bloomberg to make a run for the White House. Keeping in line with the first law of online media—”Tweets with pictures get more attention than those without”—the Boston Globe attached a photo of some avant garde carpeting, for good measure.

 

Here’s what Henry posted on his Twitter feed:

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.02.37 PM

 

 

Yeah – we have no idea what the graphic means either.

But that’s not the end of Billionaires Row for the Olde Towne Team. Here’s Nick Cafardo’s campaign coverage in today’s Boston Globe:

Buchholz has a ringing endorsement for Trump

Add matchmaker to Donald Trump’s list of successful endeavors.

Trump introduced model/actress Lindsay Clubine to Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.10.50 PM

“It was 2008 in Anaheim,” Buchholz recalled. “It was Sean Casey, myself, probably like eight or nine guys, and we went to a UFC fight after one game and then we went to the after party.

“It was ‘Affliction: Banned’ fighting, and [Trump] owned the whole circuit. My wife knew him prior, from ‘Deal or No Deal’ when he came on the show as a celebrity banker.

“She was helping him host this event in Anaheim. So when we all walked in, he was there, and he saw us and he introduced Lindsey to me.”

 

Isn’t that sweet?

Now if we can just get Big Papi to endorse Bernie Sanders, we’ll have a real ballgame.

Memo to Boston Herald owner Pat Purcell: Still time to play – have you considered drafting Mitt Romney?


Boston Herald Pitches Purcell Property

February 21, 2015

From our Walt Whitman desk

Call him Pat Pursell.

Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell is a minority investor in National Development’s $200 million Ink Block project on the South End site that was home to the Herald for 53 years.

As the hardreading staff has noted, the selfie local tabloid relentlessly heralded last month’s opening of a new Whole Foods market on the site, which will also include luxury condos and apartments, retail shops and restaurants. One of those pieces disclosed Purcell’s financial stake in the development, but we’re not sure the others did (we tried to check, but they’re archived at $3.95 a pop).

Regardless, now comes yesterday’s full-page pitch (in article form) for the next Ink Block phase – two apartment complexes.

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 1.36.23 AM

 

Pitch-perfect graf:

Rents in the three buildings range from $2,529 to $2,804 for studios, $3,234 to $4,304 for one bedrooms, $4,104 to $4,704 for two bedrooms and $5,404-$5,804 for three bedrooms. Garage parking costs $325 a month.

 

Disclosure of Purcell’s financial interest in the project is conveniently buried in the middle of the piece.

Perfect.


Hark! The Herald! (Whole in Their Head Edition)

January 12, 2015

From our Walt Whitman desk

The selfie local tabloid seems determined to run a Whole Foods/Herald story as often as possible.

It started with this piece last Wednesday.

Whole Foods design honors Herald legacy

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In the South End landmark where ink once flowed and the Boston Herald’s presses roared, shoppers will now enjoy frangipane tarts, cooked-to-order ramen and a milk + honey spa at Boston’s newest and most innovative Whole Foods.

The 50,000-square-foot gourmet supermarket is part of National Development’s Ink Block project on the site that was home to the Herald for 53 years.

 

(Boston Magazine’s Eric Randall immediately had a smart piece chronicling the Herald’s “screeds against the half of the country that columnist Howie Carr sometimes collectively refers to as ‘Whole Foods nation'” along with a roll call of the Herald’s Whole lotta love.)

Then Saturday’s Herald featured this update from Donna Goodison:

It’s a Whole new story at 
old Herald site

117A1123.JPG

Whole Foods Market debuted its newest Boston store in the South End Friday — its second largest in the region and considered a flagship for its North Atlantic division — and co-CEO Walter Robb sees room in the Hub for another of its size.

“We’ve seen the city evolving, so we have lots of plans,” the Boston native said. “The opportunity to come in here and get 50,000 square feet — that’s hard to do these days, and I do think there’s another one (in the future pipeline).” . . .

Its South End supermarket is in National Development’s $200 million Ink Block project, the former Boston Herald headquarters site for more than half a century, and it memorializes the newspaper’s history throughout its decor.

 

Of course it does.

Then yesterday, there was this thoroughly readable piece from Peter Gelzinis:

From press to produce

The legendary author Thomas Wolfe was misinformed when he wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again.”117A1228.JPG

I’m here to say you can. But when you do, you’ll discover home has been transformed into the biggest Whole Foods store in Boston.

 

It’s a sweet trip down Memory Lane with Bert McNeil and Mike Bello, Danny and Dennis Messing, and especially Gelzinis himself.

But there’s also a subtext to all that Wholesomeness: “Herald publisher Patrick J. Purcell [is] a minority investor in the $200 million Ink Block project, which also will include luxury condos and apartments, retail shops and restaurants.”

So – a Whole lotta money involved.

And today?

Wholly absent.

But we don’t expect that to last long.