Friday, May 01, 2009

Pinch Sulzberger: between a rock and bankruptcy

The Post (the real Post, that is) has up-to-the-minute data on The New Bankrupt Times. Its owner:

Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger faces the uncomfortable task of having to shut down the Boston Globe today if holdout employees refuse to fork over $20 million in savings to his family...

If the Sulzberger family carries out its threatened shutdown by today's deadline, it would be an admission that they wasted $1.1 billion in buying the paper in the first place.

But if they back down, it would show a weakness of will that Wall Street investors who hold big stakes -- particularly hard-nosed billionaire Carlos Slim -- might turn against the family to wrest away its control of the enterprise.

...The Globe was on track to lose $85 million this year unless changes are made, The Times said. That follows losses of $50 million last year.

The Times itself is struggling against a $1.1 billion debt load, which coincidentally is what the Times paid for the Globe's assets in 1993, then a record price. The Globe was profitable for more than a decade before it hit bottom last year.

And how did Sulzberger get his black eye? Your guess is as good as mine, but I personally suspect a shareholder.

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