Aug 19, 2008

Foreign bureaus at home

A passel of marquee newspapers are up for sale, but newspaper companies everywhere seem to be struggling. So who has the cash to get the deals done? Maybe another billionaire is willing to risk the headaches, but that seems unlikely.

Alan Mutters wonders if the same sovereign wealth funds that have been buying up American businesses and real estate and shoring up American banks might like to get their hands on a few American newspapers, too.

Mutter writes:
For considerably less than $1 billion of the up to $800 billion in its coffers, the Abu Dhabi Investment Council could buy the Newark Star-Ledger, Chicago Sun-Times and San Diego Union (sic) and turn them into U.S. editions of The National, the new English-language paper launched in the spring by the state-owned Abu Dhabi Media Co.
With $800 billion, ADIC could buy a lot of things. The question is what long-term value these papers would have for a foreign investor. According to Mutter, they'd provide editorial pages in influential ZIP codes and serve as a toehold for expansion. So, is anyone nibbling?

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