BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Two investor groups have made formal bids to buy the Boston Globe from the New York Times ( NYT), according to a report in the Globe itself. No sums were mentioned in the report, which cited the ubiquitous "people with knowledge." But anyone buying the daily paper, one of the country's oldest and most storied, must deal with a massive money-sink as the business is currently operated. The Times has repeatedly said that the Globe will lose $85 million in 2009, though some industry watchers have cast doubt on that figure. The parties reported as interested
had already seen their names emerge in a Globe story last month: Stephen Pagliuca, part-owner of the NBA's Boston Celtics franchise and one of the uppermost managers at the huge private-equity firm Bain Capital, has teamed up with Jack Conners, who made his fortune in the advertising trade. The other group includes Stephen Taylor, a Yale professor and part of the family that once owned the Globe and, indeed, sold it to the Times in 1993 for $1.1 billion. Taylor once worked on the business side of the newspaper, where he helped launch its popular Boston.com web site. According to the Globe article Friday, Pagliuca and Connors want to set up the Globe as a nonprofit, an approach to saving the country's beleaguered newspapers that has been raised often in the last year. It's also been met with controversy. Critics argue that such a model would, by depriving the paper of its profit motive, lead to a kind of comfortable stagnation and lack of innovation that would quicken the perceived obsolescence of traditional news gathering.
Fans of the nonprofit model say that it would free a news organization from the imperatives of that very profit motive, which many blame for the perceived decline in the journalistic quality of many newspapers (pandering to the lowest common denominator, for example, or the hard-core cost cutting -- and staff reductions -- the for-profit companies undertake when profits tighten). The Globe said the bids were in response to an auction run by the Times and its investment banker, Evercore. On a day when media stocks were sharply higher, Times shares climbed nearly 3% Friday to $7.84 on light trading. The Washington Post ( WPO) was the leading gainer among media equities. The company surprised the market Friday by reporting a profit for its second quarter. Its stock jumped 10%, or $41.53, to $460.63 in late trading. The Post, however, is hardly a newspaper company any longer. Its main line of business, the Kaplan test-prep division, which accounts for 58% of revenue, drove the Post's growth in the quarter. Ad revenue at the company's the flagship D.C. daily fell 20% in the quarter. -- Reported by Scott Eden in New York.