The New York Times Co. announced Saturday, Aug. 3, that its two-decade reign over the New England Media Group would end with a write-off in keeping with the newspaper industry's misfortune over that same period.
The $70 million in cash that prominent Bostonian John W. Henry has agreed to pay for the group, featuring The Boston Globe, compares to a $1.1 billion purchase price for the Globe alone in 1993. However, on returning to local ownership, the group today not only includes New England's paper of record but also BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Telegram.com, direct-marketing unit GlobeDirect and a 49% interest in Metro Boston.
Henry, winner of the five-month auction managed by Evercore Partners Inc., owns the majority of Boston Red Sox MLB franchise through his Fenway Sports Group. He previously submitted an offer for the Globe through that franchise's holding company, New England Sports Network, in which his FSG has an 80% stake and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs has the remainder.
It's as an individual, though, that media neophyte Henry assumes Globe ownership. His majority-controlled NESN elected not to participate in the auction's final round, thus adding to a significant amount of churn among such suitors as former Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin, family members of the Globe's former owner and local businessmen Jack Connors, John Fish and Steve Weiner.
On designating Henry as the auction's winner, the Times' president and CEO Mark Thompson cited "strong local roots and a deep appreciation of the importance of these publications to the Greater Boston community." He also noted that the sale would allow the Times "to sharpen our company focus on and investments in The New York Times brand and its journalism."
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