I find it rather ironic that the Boston Globe, which is an amazing asset, with an incredibly well-oiled and hard-working team, is still on the block, being offered for sale again by the NY Times, the current owner. And my message is, whoever buys the Globe should move quickly to snatch up this media innovator with a team of people who know how to pull together in a crisis, are capable of extraordinary performance, and that have the experience of being masters in the difficult world of social and digital media.I believe that whoever buys the Globe—whether an individual or an organization—should be Boston-based and should be in it for the long haul. The acquisition should be about the brand and the customers, not just about the money. Sure, the Globe needs to be profitable. But buying the Boston Globe is like buying the Red Sox; you are buying a team, an institution, and a franchise, with millions of loyal (fans) customers. The buyer should be someone who understands the local climate, the culture, the customer base, and the area personality.
In a February article on Smartertimes.com, writer Ira Stoll suggested a list of 25 potential buyers. Of those perspective suitors, we like the idea of the following (as described in Ira Stoll’s article):
“Gatehouse Media: owns a bunch of small dailies, weeklies, and Web sites in the cities and towns surrounding Boston. But with its stock trading in the pennies, it's not at all clear that the company has the balance sheet to complete an acquisition the size of the Globe.”We say that the money could be found, the company knows the Boston area culture and climate, as well as the publishing/media business.
“John Henry: A stake in the Boston Red Sox and its associated sports cable channel was part of the Times Company's Boston operation for some time. If Mr. Henry, who owns the Red Sox as part of a broader group, bought the Globe, it would reunite the newspaper with the sports operation. The rationale here is similar to the idea of selling the Globe to ESPN; a large part of the value is the sports coverage, and the advertisers who want to buy signs at Fenway Park or television commercials during Red Sox games are presumably the same ones who would want to reach Globe readers. On the other hand, other than the sports network that covers the Red Sox, he doesn't have much in the way of experience in the news business.”But he does understand a franchise with a legion of fans!
“Abigail Johnson, with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $11.8 billion, could certainly afford to buy the Globe. She and her family own and run the Fidelity mutual fund empire. They were in the Boston-area suburban newspaper business at one time, but got out of it.”Fidelity is a Boston mainstay with deep pockets. And they have a background in the newspaper business. This could be a great match!