New York Times Co Looking To Sell Globe, 17.5% Share of Red Sox?

From an article by Russell Adams in the Wall Street Journal late yesterday:

The Times Co., which faces a cash shortage accelerated by steep industrywide revenue declines, has been rumored for months to be open to selling non-core assets. Besides its flagship newspaper, the Times Co. owns the Boston Globe, About.com and a 17.5% stake in New England Sports Ventures, which owns the Red Sox, their fabled ballpark Fenway Park and most of the cable network that airs their games.

The Times Co. pushed discussions beyond the exploration phase early last month at a quarterly meeting of NESV’s limited partners at which the Times Co. indicated to the partnership its intention to sell. Since then Times Co. has been pursuing potential buyers, according to people familiar with the discussions. A Times spokeswoman declined to comment.

It is unclear what the Times Co. thinks it can get for its stake. Barclays Capital estimates the Times Co.’s investment is worth about $166 million; analysts and sports bankers recently told Reuters the Times Co. could raise at least $200 million if it sold its stake.

The Times Co. acquired its stake in NESV when it joined John Henry in the hedge fund billionaire’s $700 million purchase of the Red Sox in 2002. It is the second largest shareholder behind Mr. Henry. The stake was supposed to shore up the Globe’s advertising position in New England by packaging the Globe with New England Sports Network, one of the most powerful television outlets in the region. But it wasn’t enough to stop the decline in advertisers and readers.

It’s possible that the Globe could be packaged with the sports assets in a sale; Jack Connors, a former ad executive in Boston, and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch took a serious look at the Globe two years ago, when people close to them said they were valuing it at $550-600 million at the time. The Times rebuffed the inquiries. The Globe was recently valued by Barclay’s at $20 million.

WEEI Today Re-playing Celtics Run To Title

Today’s WEEI schedule:

  • 10 AM – 1 PM: Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Cleveland
  • 1 PM – 4 PM: Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit
  • 4 PM – 7 PM: Game 4 of the Finals against the Lakers
  • 7 PM – 10:30 PM: Game 6 of the Finals against the Lakers, including the post game celebration.

CSN’s “Manny Being Manny” – Not as bad as you might think…

OK, so that doesn’t exactly read as a ringing endorsement of the Comcast SportsNet special Manny being Manny – The Final Days in Boston, which is set to debut tomorrow night following the Celtics post game show.

But I’m sure you can forgive me for fearing the worst of this show, which I assumed would be simply an hour video extension of the Dennis and Callahan program, especially since Gerry Callahan is one of the commentators. With Dan Shaughnessy and Steve Buckley also lined up to appear, I was fearful to even pop the review DVD into my player last weekend.

But I did, and found it to be better than expected. Shaughnessy and Callahan were nowhere near as vitriolic about Manny as they have been elsewhere, and Shaughnessy actually spent some time gushing about Manny’s skills at the plate. Callahan called most of Manny’s antics harmless.

 

The show starts with a fairly quick overview of Manny’s tenure in Boston leading into the 2008 season. Many of his prodigious home runs are shown, and previous “Manny being Manny” incidents are not rehashed. As the show moves into this year, the hiring of super-agent Scott Boras is highlighted, as is the subject of Manny’s option years. Ramirez got into great shape coming into this season, initially hoping to get those options picked up and a contract extension worked out, and was even talking to the media. His pursuit of home run #500 for his career occupied much of the Manny talk in the early going of the season, and once he had reached that mark, things seemed to go downhill from there.

The dugout scuffle with Kevin Youkilis (which Callahan shows some of his WEEI venom when commenting on) and the strange confrontation with traveling secretary Jack McCormick are discussed, as well as the three-pitch at bat against Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium (which Shaughnessy wavers on a bit before opining that Manny was sticking it to Red Sox management) and his mysterious knee injury that couldn’t be diagnosed with an MRI.

The show could’ve been a lot harsher toward Ramirez, and I give CSN credit for not going that route totally. I think the show was a pretty good balance of Manny’s accomplishments here in Boston contrasted with his tumultuous exit from the Red Sox and the huge sense of relief felt in the clubhouse when he was finally traded.

There still seems to be a lot that we don’t know about Manny’s exit from Boston, and while the show doesn’t really shed any new light on things, it gives us a snapshot of the end one of the strangest tenures in Boston sports.

Press Release from CSN on Program.