Aug 8, 2009

The Platinum treatment

The Boston Globe profiles Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, which bought the San Diego Union-Tribune in March and has put in a bid of $35 million to buy the Globe from New York Times Co.

Tom Gores is the billionaire owner. He's 45. He's used the cash he's made from his private equity investments to produce a Lindsay Lohan slasher film.

Good taste aside, the description of what's going on at the Union-Tribune should have the Globe staff frightened. In addition to the 192 layoffs instituted shortly after Platinum Equity bought the San Diego newspaper, the company has barred employees who leave from recruiting current employees for new ventures and hired "consultants" to monitor the productivity of reporters and editors.

The private equity firm brought in Ed Moss, a veteran downsizer who's worked at both the Akron Beacon Journal and the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, to become Union-Tribune publisher.

The Globe reports that another round of layoffs is expectd at the Union-Tribune next week.

Then there's the aggressive manner in which Platinum's attorneys tried to squash a story about two sexual harassment lawsuits that, along with those productivity consultants, raises serious questions about editorial independence and ethics.

Many argue Platinum only got into the newspaper game for the real estate - and the Globe has some prime real estate of its own.

From the Globe:
“They don’t care whether it’s a newspaper or a dairy or a gas station or a small engine manufacturer,’’ said the person close to the transaction. “They’re looking at the fundamentals of the business. If they think they can make money at a certain transaction price, they’re interested in that business.’’
Platinum Equity already has a regional office in Boston.


Anonymous said...

So Lean Dean has competition for real estate, er newspapers?

Anonymous said...

Little Eddie better bust out his Red Sox cap.

Anonymous said...

little eddies head is a bit too big to fit into any cap.