Boston Globe sale precipitated by $100 million bid in January

Former Boston Globe President Rick Daniels leads an investor group that offered “more than $100 million” for The Boston Globe in January, Keach Hagey reported Friday night.

“The Times has been in quiet talks for the past year with the buyer group,” Hagey reported.

In January, the group submitted a formal bid that included the assumption of between $25 million and $35 million of liabilities connected with the Globe’s nonqualified pension plan, in which senior company executives participate.

The Times would have kept the larger pension obligations for the rest of the Globe employees on its books, the people said. That would suggest the cash payment the Times would receive could be only around $70 million.

The New York Times Co. “had to open up the sale process to prevent shareholder lawsuits,” Hagey wrote, saying that Former Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin and OC Register owner Aaron Kushner are also contenders to own the paper.

Beth Healy reported that in a meeting with Globe employees Friday, Times Co. exec Michael Golden told employees that purchase price wouldn’t be the only metric as Times Co. chooses a buyer:

“We have no intention to send the New England Media Group to the slaughterhouse,” he said…

“Price is important, he said, but there will be latitude as the Times reviews buyers. When pressed by employees, he said leaving the Globe in responsible hands will be a consideration.”

Golden, she said, “also confirmed that the Globe is ‘cash-flow positive,’ meaning it makes an operating profit on its business.”

Another ownership possibility: Local car magnate Ernie Boch Jr., whom the Boston Business Journal reported Friday was exploring a bid. Boch, whose father made memorable New England television commercials in the mid-’60s, is not a stranger to publishing; he’s produced radio shows and a Boston Herald column about rock music, which he compiled into a 2011 book.

Alan Mutter says traditional newspaper publishers can’t or won’t buy the Globe and that the “odds are strong that next owner of the Globe will be a newcomer equipped with the resources, determination, vision and daring to create a more successful metro publishing model than the industry stalwarts have mustered to date.”

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