Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hold the Presses: Rupert Outbid!

Cablevision Close to Newsday Deal

Tribune Co. is close to a deal to sell its Long Island newspaper Newsday to Cablevision Systems Corp. for $650 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

If successful, the bid from the Long Island cable operator will have beat out matching $580 million offers from News Corp., which owns the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, and New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman. News Corp. had an informal agreement for Newsday, but was unwilling to match Cablevision's offer and revoked its bid on Saturday.

—Wall Street Journal Online

Before you read this, please swallow your coffee and place the cup firmly on the counter. Then put away any sharp objects that might be nearby. Now, sit down and take a deep breath.

Rupert Murdoch has been outbid for a media property.

That’s right. The canny folks at Cablevision apparently decided that it made sense to get into a bidding war for a newspaper property. Against Rupert Murdoch. Who had synergies with his own New York Post—our newspaper of record.

And Cablevision appears to have “won” the bidding war, according to Rupert's own Wall Street Journal.

Now, we don’t know the precise revenue or cash flow figures for Newsday—it a small part of Tribune Company, which went private last year. But we do know that Tribune’s publishing revenues dropped 11% in the first quarter of 2008.

And classified ad revenue fell a bit more sharply: 27%.

So it’s a fair bet that Newsday’s numbers aren’t exactly up-and-to-the-right, like Google. Still, we’re sure the folks at Cablevision know what they’re in for: just think how they’ve elevated professional sports in New York City.

But we can’t wait to read the New York Post story on this deal first thing in the morning.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2008 Not Making This Up LLC

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Mark B. Spiegel said...

The Dolans may have figured that if they ever wanted to read anything good about themselves, they'd have to own a newspaper... The problem with this theory, though, is that I'm not convinced that Dolan Jr. actually knows how to read.

Gringcorp said...

The best theory I've yet read about this is that Newsday might be enough of a drag on Cablevision's financials that they could take it private, which seems to be pretty much the only thing that's motivated them the last few years. Actually, that's not quite true, they've also been pretty good at taking our events venues the same size as MSG in Manhattan and running a ball club like North Korea.