I’m no expert in the newspaper business but it is interesting to look at the Post deal as well as the less-publicized but uglier Boston Globe deal. First, from the Post’s mega-story on their sale:
The sale to Bezos involves The Post and its Web site (washingtonpost.com), along with the Express newspaper, the Gazette Newspapers and Southern Maryland Newspapers in suburban Washington, the Fairfax County Times, the Spanish-language newspaper El Tiempo Latino, and the Robinson Terminal production plant in Springfield. Bezos will also purchase the Comprint printing operation in Gaithersburg, which produces several military publications.
The deal does not include the company’s headquarters on 15th Street NW (the building has been for sale since February) or Foreign Policy magazine, the Web sites Slate and the Root, the WaPo Labs digital development operation, or Post-owned land along the Potomac River in Alexandria.
(My bold.) Bezos bought everything that he needed to print the paper, as well as the metro area papers, which supply stories to the mother ship. He didn’t buy anything he didn’t strictly need to run the Post–those he left in care of the Post stockholders and the Graham family, who are now proud owners of a test-cramming company. If I worked at Slate, I’d be polishing my résumé .
The Bezos purchase overshadowed the news of the Globe sale to the billionaire owner of the Boston Red Sox, but let’s take a look at that, because it smells like a fire sale. The Times pocketed $70 million on the sale, but the Globe’s real estate in Boston is valued near that. Plus, the Times took the cash but kept the pension liabilities of the Globe, which are valued around $110 million, meaning the Globe sort-of sold for negative$40 million. More detail here, but if I were the speculating kind, I’d start wondering what deep-pockets billionaire is going to snatch up the good parts of the Times company, including the paper, from the Sulzbergers. Bloomberg is going to need something to do after the election, to pick one possible buyer.