Jun 11, 2009

Will the Globe go Intercontinental?

The owners of Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. have placed a bid to buy the Boston Globe, and I'm guessing it's not because they're interested in the articles.

From the Boston Herald:
“Intercontinental is interested in any good investment that offers superior returns for our investors, as well as opportunities for job preservation, and even job growth, for our union investors,” said a top executive for Boston-based Intercontinental ... “The Globe fits our profile.”
Since very few companies - especially ones with "real estate" in their name - think newspapers are great investments right now, what's the attraction? According to the Herald, the Globe owns some "prime property" along the I-95, which makes the proposal look a little like the deal Platinum Equity made to buy the San Diego Union-Tribune. Intercontinental also manages investment funds, including union pensions.

Speaking of which, the Herald reports that the largest union at the Globe has called for an equity stake in any new company. Assuming Intercontinental emerges as the buyer, that would at least leave one entity with an interest in the newspaper that wants to keep it a newspaper - albeit a much smaller one.

Of course, the New York Times Co. has yet to confirm it's going to sell the Globe. Putting the paper on the block could be a tactic to get the unions to sign off on wage and benefit cuts; or the wage and benefit cuts could be a tactic to make the Globe more attractive to a buyer.

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