Cablevision Acquires Newsday After Murdoch Steps Aside

Cablevision on Monday morning (May 12) announced its second major acquisition in just over a week, having agreed to pony up $650 million for the Long Island daily paper, Newsday.
Per terms of the deal, Cablevision will pick up approximately 97 percent of Newsday Media Group, a collection of publications and online properties that includes the flagship paper and its digital extension,, as well as the free daily tabloid, amNewYork.
Tribune Company will retain the remaining 3 percent stake.
Cablevision elbowed its way into the role of top bidder, offering $70 million more for Newsday than did Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and The Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman, both of which floated independent bids of $580 million.
News Corp. pulled its bid on Saturday.
“Newsday is one of the great names in the history of American journalism and it is both an honor and privilege to return Newsday back to Long Island-based ownership after nearly 40 years,” said Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan, by way of announcing the deal. “We admire Newsday’s strong editorial voice and reputation for quality as well as its leadership in print and online journalism…[and] are committed to maintaining Newsday’s journalistic integrity and important position in the marketplace.”
While analysts puzzled over the implications of the purchase–if nothing else, some synergies may exist between the ad sales operations of the cable operator and the newspaper group–investors were unfazed. Shares of Cablevision on Monday morning traded just a hair under Friday’s closing price, down 40 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $24.57.
In addition to presenting a number of new advertising opportunities, promotional synergies are manifest, said Cablevision president and CEO James Dolan. “Both Cablevision and Newsday are in the content, customer relationship and advertising business and we see this as a wonderful fit,” the younger Dolan said, adding that by combining the resources of the cable business and the newspapers, both would be able “to attract a larger audience than either company could on its own.”
Last Monday, Cablevision announced it would buy Sundance Channel from General Electric’s NBC Universal, CBS Corp. and actor/director Robert Redford, in a deal valued at $496 million. Per terms of the deal, majority owner GE is to receive all 12.7 million Cablevision-held shares of its stock, while CBS and Redford will be paid cash in exchange for their respective interests.