What made the Team Welch bid remarkable was its keen understanding of the auction process and its skillful leveraging of local assets toward shutting down any possibility of same by the Times. The Kennedy letter wasn't meant for Mr. Sulzberger; it was a message to other private equity firms: We have the local pols and labor leaders on our side. The presence of Jack Connors, Boston's leading ad-man, as a partner in the deal was another message to private-equity firms: We have the best-connected guy in the city and he employs a lot of people who decide where to place advertising in local media. The inclusion of Joe O'Donnell, concessionaire and one of Boston's favorite sons, sent another message: We have friends on both sides of the aisle. And, oh, by the way, "Jimmy" Lee of J.P. Morgan Chase is crunching the numbers and will provide Team Welch with all the financing it could ever need. Usually, the more public the process is, the more likely an auction results. But by tilting the mirrors of perception in public, Mr. Welch left other private-equity players with the following choice: Sign on with Team Welch or risk a nasty, local bidding war that will doom the upside in the deal for everyone."Verrrry interestink", as Arte Johnson used to say.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Boston Globe Ownership Conspiracy Theory
In the Op Ed page of today's Wall Street Journal, John Ellis writes a column entitled 'Squeeze Play' that ties together the Welch bid for the Globe with the Kennedy-signed letter from local pols to the current owners. Here is the link (subscription required). Moneygraph: