What The Globe Can Expect If Platinum Equity Buys

Last week, The Boston Globe revealed that its owner, The New York Times Co., had been approached by a third group of potential buyers interested in purchasing the beleaguered New England paper.

According to the Globe, the potential buyer is investment firm Platinum Equity, run by billionaire Tom Gores. The firm has already delved in to the news business with the purchase of The San Diego Union-Tibune earlier this year. And what Platinum and Gores did at that paper may come to bear if they get a stab at the Globe.

In a profile of Gores and Platinum this weekend the Globe said the purchase of the Union-Tribune resulted in aggressive cost-cutting, a Platinum signature:

“Platinum has replaced or laid off six of the Union-Tribune‘s top eight managers since taking over, and it cut 18 percent, or 192 people, of the staff three days after the deal was completed. It has also hired consultants to monitor the productivity of reporters and editors and is looking to rent out the top two floors of the newspaper’s headquarters.

“There are fewer news pages, a stand-alone Sunday opinion section has been eliminated, and some of the paper’s most seasoned journalists are gone. Newsroom staffing is about 200 employees, down from 250 at the time of the sale, and another round of layoffs is expected next week…”

Is this what the Globe can expect if Gores is successful in its bid for the paper? Maybe, maybe not. According to the profile, many of the cost-cutting measures taken in San Diego were in motion before the sale. Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson recently said that cost cutting measures already taken by the company had helped put the Globe “on stronger financial footing.” So it’s possible that a potential buyer won’t be saddled with too much dead weight needing to be cut.

And for the time being, Gores and Platinum are just one of three groups vying for a chance to pick up the Globe. The other two are Boston-based groups, one led by Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca and former ad exec Jack Connors, and the other headed up by Stephen Taylor, a former executive at the Globe and a member of the family that sold the paper to the Times Co. in 1993.

Behind a billionaire’s interest in the GlobeThe Boston Globe

Earlier: Times Co. Admits Boston Globe Is Up For Sale While San Diego Paper Owner Makes Bid

(Photo via Platinum Equity)

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