3 Bidders for the Globe: Who Are They?

The Boston Globe has three potentially interested buyers, the Globe reports. Who are they and how do they stack up?
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Evidently, newspapers still appeal to your average tycoon as a potential trophy holding.

The

Boston Globe

reported Friday that at least three potential buyers are interested in purchasing the struggling Beantown daily from its struggling owner, the

New York Times

(NYT) - Get Report

.

According to the report, all three are currently running due diligence on the

Globe

and/or lining up funds and/or "mulling bids." All, too, are Bostonians of long standing, a condition thought to be a requirement for anyone considering stepping in to, in effect, save the 137-year old newspaper, among the more storied daily publications in the U.S. (And all three, of course, have declined to comment on their interest.)

A quick-and-dirty handicapping of the players, in order of their probable ability to muster the funds for such a purchase:

Steve Pagliuca, one of the major figures at the top of

Bain Capital

, the Boston private-equity behemoth. Part owner of local hoops icons, the Boston Celtics. Consummate Wall Street insider with access to loads of capital. Knows a thing or two about buying companies. (Though, as is the case with all buyout kings now, the credit-happy days of yore have come back to haunt certain huge take-privates they conducted at the peak of the boom.)

Jack Connors, a Boston area adman who helped sell his advertising firm for $115 million a few years ago and is reportedly worth half a billion dollars. Chairman of the nonprofit hospital group,

Partners HealthCare

, he's mostly a philanthropist these days. Has plenty of time (and money) on his hands. Understands the ad business, and also has shown documented interest: he raised the prospect of buying the Globe three years ago.

Steve Taylor, scion of the family that once ruled the

Globe

and sold it to the

Times

in 1993 for a then-whopping $1.1 billion (at the time, the biggest newspaper deal ever done). Actually, a cousin in that family. Taylor himself worked at the

Globe

for more than 20 years, from intern to president of the paper's electronic publishing business, which would have been a very nascent business circa 1993. (He left the

Globe

after the

Times

took over.) Now ensconced in the Ivory Tower, he's a lecturer in media at the Yale School of Management. Teaches a course entitled "Media Economics & Financing Journalism." Will need to summon all of that knowledge in order to buy the

Globe

. More than Connors and Pagliuca, two whales, Taylor would need the help of investors and outside sources of funding.

The

Globe

has

experienced a dramatic week. On Monday, the newspapers' biggest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, largely made up of editorial staff, voted by a slim margin to reject a contract that would have cut pay by 10% along with other concessions. Now, the

Times

has followed through on its threat to cut pay by 23% in order to obtain the $20 million in savings it says it needs to keep the

Globe

in business.

Then, on Wednesday night, it emerged that the

Times

-- at least according to the

Globe's

reporting -- had hired Goldman Sachs to shop the Boston daily to potential buyers.

Media-industry pundits have been divided on the idea of a

Globe

sale. Some say the

Times

has intended to cut it loose all along, slashing costs and taking care of the "union problem" being two of its priorities as it moves toward a sale.

Others, however, raise the question of whether the

Times

could ever find a serious buyer for the

Globe

, given its financial state and the perceived obsolescence of print media. Better and ultimately more profitable, these people say, to hold onto the

Globe

and its still-powerful brand name and attempt to make a go of it.

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