We're Sold

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Barry
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We're Sold

Post by Barry » Tue May 23, 2006 3:52 pm

A deal has been reached for the sale of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News (most of you know I work at the Inquirer). This came up before. It's not the best-case scenario, which would have been the investors who were working with the union I'm in, but it's also not the worst-case scenario, which would have been a Canadian group that announced they intended to cut the staff in half if they won the bidding. That Canadian company was foolish enough to go to the Teamsters and tell them that if they didn't raise a fuss when they tried to cut the papers' staffs in half, they'd guarantee the Teamsters' jobs. The Teamsters told them where to stick that offer and the head of the Canadian group had the nerve to say he couldn't understand the attitude of the Teamsters.

There seems to be guarded optimism here. The buyers are local and are interested in the long term and the papers' place in the community. We also won't be publicly owned anymore, which I'm thrilled about. We were all sick of being beholden to people who aren't in this area and aren't involved in the newspaper business.

The story:

McClatchy Sells Philadelphia Newspapers By DEBORAH YAO, AP Business Writer
8 minutes ago

PHILADELPHIA - McClatchy Co. is selling The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News to a local group of investors for $562 million, moving a step closer to completing its acquisition of Knight Ridder Inc.

The two Philadelphia papers are being bought by a group led by Bruce Toll, co-founder of Toll Brothers Inc., the luxury home builder, and advertising executive Brian Tierney. The papers are among 12 currently owned by Knight Ridder that McClatchy plans to sell.

McClatchy and the investor group said in a statement that they intend to close the deal around the same time that McClatchy closes its deal for Knight Ridder, which is expected this summer. McClatchy will receive $515 million in cash proceeds, and the investment group, Philadelphia Media Holdings, will assume $47 million in pension liabilities.

Once McClatchy closes its purchase of Knight Ridder's remaining 20 papers, it will become the second-largest newspaper company in the country following Gannett Co. in terms of circulation.

The deal returns the papers to private ownership for the first time since 1969, when Walter H. Annenberg sold the papers to Knight Newspapers Inc. after being named U.S. ambassador to Britain.

"The next great era of Philadelphia journalism begins today with this announcement," Tierney said. "We intend to be long-term owners committed to serving this region with the vigorous, high-quality journalism we all expect of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com, and we intend to preserve both papers and their unique and valuable contributions," Tierney said.
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I'm heading down to the press conference in a few minutes.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Tue May 23, 2006 4:00 pm

Hope it works out well for the paper and, especially, for you.
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue May 23, 2006 5:48 pm

After listening to the head of the group that bought us, I'm still guardedly optimistic. He continually stressed how much they are in this for the long haul and that means they'll be more likely to put out money for something that may cost them as far as short-term profits go, but will help grow the business in the long run (I'm paraphrasing him). He had interesting comments on how certain industries are better suited to public ownership, and others, especially when in a time of transition, are not. He also mentioned that we may now be the only major privately AND locally owned major papers in the country and that the industry and industry anslysts will be watching us to see how it works.

I think the pesimism and downer attitude that's been predominant around here for the last few years may at least start to turn for the better.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Tue May 23, 2006 6:07 pm

Barry Z wrote:After listening to the head of the group that bought us, I'm still guardedly optimistic. He continually stressed how much they are in this for the long haul and that means they'll be more likely to put out money for something that may cost them as far as short-term profits go, but will help grow the business in the long run
Like raising salaries?

Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue May 23, 2006 6:35 pm

Gregory Kleyn wrote:
Barry Z wrote:After listening to the head of the group that bought us, I'm still guardedly optimistic. He continually stressed how much they are in this for the long haul and that means they'll be more likely to put out money for something that may cost them as far as short-term profits go, but will help grow the business in the long run
Like raising salaries?
The example he gave was hiring a talented new reporter. We've basically been in a hiring freeze with the exception of one brief flury for several years now.
We'll see on the raises in the next few months since our union contract is up at the end of August. I don't think anyone here is expecting big raises. But avoiding give backs in a troubled industry would be nice; certainly a lot better than what's happening to employees in the airline industry.

One other thing that got applause from those assembled at the announcement was that while the new top guy is known as a local mover and shaker in the GOP (the investment group contains both Republicans and Democrats.....actually a very diverse group), all new owners had to sign a pledge not to interfere with the editorial content of the paper as part of the deal.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Werner
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Post by Werner » Tue May 23, 2006 6:43 pm

Barry, any changes in ownership bring a period of suspense until things settle down. It must be a relief for you and your colleagues that the buyer is local and in for the long haul.

Let's wish them - and you - luck, and hope thattings will work out well for all of you.
Werner Isler

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Tue May 23, 2006 7:36 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Gregory Kleyn wrote:
Barry Z wrote:After listening to the head of the group that bought us, I'm still guardedly optimistic. He continually stressed how much they are in this for the long haul and that means they'll be more likely to put out money for something that may cost them as far as short-term profits go, but will help grow the business in the long run
Like raising salaries?
The example he gave was hiring a talented new reporter. We've basically been in a hiring freeze with the exception of one brief flury for several years now.
We'll see on the raises in the next few months since our union contract is up at the end of August. I don't think anyone here is expecting big raises. But avoiding give backs in a troubled industry would be nice; certainly a lot better than what's happening to employees in the airline industry.

One other thing that got applause from those assembled at the announcement was that while the new top guy is known as a local mover and shaker in the GOP (the investment group contains both Republicans and Democrats.....actually a very diverse group), all new owners had to sign a pledge not to interfere with the editorial content of the paper as part of the deal.
It sounds now as if a visit to "Barry's Cheese Steaks" will not be an imminent possibility.

Disappointing.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue May 23, 2006 7:36 pm

Thanks Werner. I say we're guardedly optimistic because it's obviously a trubled industry and there aren't any magic overnight solutions. But I really like what the guy had to say about their vision for the paper and how proud they are to own an institution in their home town. I'm told he got a little emotional at the press conference (which I skipped because of how crowded it was......I caught the subsequent first meeting with all the newsroom employees). He also said one of the other investors told him he got emotional over the realization that he'd be part of a small group of owners of the paper). I know how they feel because I found it extremely exciting tand was proud to be working there after read the paper for so long.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Barry
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Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:50 pm

Post by Barry » Tue May 23, 2006 7:37 pm

Gregory Kleyn wrote: It sounds now as if a visit to "Barry's Cheese Steaks" will not be an imminent possibility.

Disappointing.
Barry's Burgers.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue May 23, 2006 8:57 pm

I'm glad it turned out better than you feared. Now let's see if the new boss does what he says he will do.
Corlyss
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Tue May 23, 2006 9:26 pm

Maybe Barry can get the new owners to link the paper to CMG.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue May 23, 2006 10:11 pm

"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

BWV 1080
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Post by BWV 1080 » Wed May 24, 2006 12:07 am

This looks like a very positive move. It will probably turn out that the homogenized conglomerate newspaper companies were a bad business idea. Rather than some number-crunching gnomes it looks like you have some motivated owners who want to increase the value of the franchise rather than just cut costs through scale which seemed to be the sole mentality of the big chains.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed May 24, 2006 9:49 am

BWV 1080 wrote:This looks like a very positive move. It will probably turn out that the homogenized conglomerate newspaper companies were a bad business idea. Rather than some number-crunching gnomes it looks like you have some motivated owners who want to increase the value of the franchise rather than just cut costs through scale which seemed to be the sole mentality of the big chains.
Yep. That's the hope. It really has been demoralizing to work in that newsroom the past few years knowing that our owners had clearly made a decision that it's better to cut in order to meet the next quarterly goal than to grow the business for the long haul.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Gary
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Post by Gary » Wed May 24, 2006 2:54 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Gregory Kleyn wrote: It sounds now as if a visit to "Barry's Cheese Steaks" will not be an imminent possibility.

Disappointing.
Barry's Burgers.

No, it's Barry's King of Burgers. :)

But congratulations, you get to keep your job! :D
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed May 24, 2006 3:14 pm

Thanks Gary :) . I actually wasn't real worried about losing my job until we found out about the Canadian company that seemed to be a serious bidder and that announced in advance that it wanted to cut the staff in half. And our publisher said yesterday at the announcement that they were very serious about that.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

karlhenning
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Post by karlhenning » Wed May 24, 2006 3:24 pm

Chez Barry?
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
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Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed May 24, 2006 7:58 pm

karlhenning wrote:Chez Barry?
To tony for Barry's planned eatery. If I were opening such a restaurant, I'd call it Good Food Cheap. That would scare away people who drink merlot regularly.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Dies Irae

Post by Dies Irae » Thu May 25, 2006 2:56 am

Barry,

Re-organiztions and ownership changes such as you are describing rarely benefit the employees in the long run. There may be some short term benefits including "hail fellow well met" types of things. But in the long run, the new ownership is going to seek to earn the largest profit they can. And that is usually (somehow) at the expense of the employees.

I know that you are happy in your work and that it's close to your home (thus no need for a car), but if I were you I would have my antennae out looking/hearing about new opportunities. Why don't you try teaching Journalism in a community college or High School.?Believe me, you will be out of the rat race, have more time off to indulge your personal interests and be much more relaxed as a result.

Just look at Ralph as an example. He hasn't done an honest days work in decades. :D

Barry
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Post by Barry » Thu May 25, 2006 9:32 am

Dies Irae wrote:Barry,

Re-organiztions and ownership changes such as you are describing rarely benefit the employees in the long run. There may be some short term benefits including "hail fellow well met" types of things. But in the long run, the new ownership is going to seek to earn the largest profit they can. And that is usually (somehow) at the expense of the employees.

I know that you are happy in your work and that it's close to your home (thus no need for a car), but if I were you I would have my antennae out looking/hearing about new opportunities. ...
I did say the mood is cautious optimism. But I think you're missing the point on switching from public to private (and local) ownership. Of course they're going to want to make a profit. Tierney clearly said that. But he also pointed out that because they aren't beholden to stockholders who want to make every quarterly goal, they can approach this from the perspective of growing the paper for its longterm health, even if that means doing some things that may be harmful to the bottomline in the near future.
It's an experiment at this point because no other major papers in the country are owned in this manner. So we'll see. We aren't exactly jumping for joy in the newsroom, but there were far worse ownership alternatives out there. Out two top editors met with various departments yesterday. They mentioned that most of the other bidders, when coming in to meet with them and look at the operations, focused almost entirely on financial issues. It was clear that this would have been simply an investment opportunity to them. They had no apparent interest in journalism and what the paper means to the community. The group that won the bidding was different. Their focus was on the paper's operations and what can be done to grow it in the future. So we'll see.

As for other opportunities, we've joked about it on here, but my inclination really would be to look into opening my own business; some sort of restaurant or take-out joint. I'd probably have to go work for someone else to learn the business at first. I was already downsized out of one job in the past. If it happens again, I don't think I'll want to go work for another large company where I'd be leaving myself open to the same scenario yet again.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

RebLem
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Post by RebLem » Thu May 25, 2006 1:23 pm

Barry is starting a burger place and we're talking about a name? Is that the idea? How about

Barry's Burger Bistro
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Thu May 25, 2006 3:33 pm

I love all the help :oops: . But I've spent a good amount of time on a couple roadfood websites that I've mentioned on here, and it seems like simplicity is the way to go. I like Barry's Burgers.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Dies Irae

Post by Dies Irae » Thu May 25, 2006 3:48 pm

Barry Z wrote:I love all the help :oops: . But I've spent a good amount of time on a couple roadfood websites that I've mentioned on here, and it seems like simplicity is the way to go. I like Barry's Burgers.
I understand you're a recent newlywed.

What does your wife think of your plans?

Is she willing to provide the income needed while you struggle to establish a new business?

Barry
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Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:50 pm

Post by Barry » Thu May 25, 2006 4:13 pm

Huh? I said it's a backup plan in case I ever get laid off again. I'm not married yet, but she took a buyout and is back in school while I work. We discussed that in advance by the way.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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