Reaction to Glen Taylor’s bid for the Star Tribune

Some out-of-state reaction to Glen Taylor’s proposal to buy the Strib:

In the Wall Street Journal, William Launder says, “If completed, the deal would follow a familiar pattern of newspapers being sold to wealthy individuals looking for a toehold in the news business. Last year, Red Sox owner John Henry acquired the Boston Globe and Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post. Like other traditional publishers, the Star Tribune is attempting to expand its online readership and digital advertising business, amid declines in print advertising throughout the industry. A spokesman for the publisher said the paper is profitable, having boosted digital ad revenue and circulation in the past two years, even though print advertising revenue continued to decline.”

In the New York Post Keith Kelly says, “Terms of Taylor’s Star Tribune purchase were not disclosed — but the price tag is believed to be more than Henry paid for the Globe. Ken Doctor, an analyst who runs the Newsonomics blog, said ‘the Star Tribune most likely got a premium price based on it being an above-average performer among regional dailies. I’d estimate $100 million.’ The Star Tribune is estimated to have had 2013 revenues of about $175 million and a profit of about $30 million.”

The AP’s story says, “The newspaper is in the midst of another transition. It recently sold much of its downtown real estate to make way for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, and the paper is planning to move to another downtown location. Taylor first made a run at a minority share in the Star Tribune in 2009, saying he thought it was important to keep community ownership. In his interview with the Star Tribune, Taylor said it’s the only media company he is pursuing.”

The list of politicians with personal money problems is not a short one. In the Strib Abby Simons writes, “Federal authorities moved Tuesday for a default judgment against state Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, and his wife, Cynthia Nienow, for their failure to repay more than $748,000 in overdue federal loans and other costs. The government had already filed a lawsuit against Nienow, a vocal advocate of fiscal conservatism, in January for his failure to make payments on an initial small business loan of $613,000.”

If it’s a matter of money, we’ll happily give you more … Rochelle Olson of the Strib says, “Minnesota’s 2018 Super Bowl bid is in, and the NFL will decide within weeks whose turf will feel championship cleats. … On Tuesday, the Vikings, Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority issued a joint news release heralding the submission of the extensive bid, the details of which were not made public.”

In the PiPress though, Chris Thomasson goes right for the kinda, sorta hard-line legislators have drawn over income tax breaks. “State leaders have offered their cooperation in Minneapolis’ bid to host Super Bowl LII in 2018. But they’ve drawn a line when it comes to making salaries from players on the two teams exempt from state taxation. … Two of the five legislators who signed the letter said Tuesday they are open to the possibility of offering tax breaks for Super Bowl-related events. But both said it was agreed there would be no income tax relief … .”

In Florida’s Sun-Sentinel Brittany Shammas covers the arraignment of Minnesota’s “Scottish aristcrats.” “For seven weeks or so they have been on the run — a pair of “Scottish aristocrats” who, according to authorities, lived a life of luxury while collecting food stamps, welfare and Medicaid from two states. But on Tuesday, Andrea and Colin Chisholm III were behind bars in Broward County Jail, awaiting their fate. Deported from the Bahamas and nabbed at Port Everglades late Monday, the ‘Lord’ and ‘Lady’ are being held without bail for potential extradition to Minnesota.”

The Strib doesn’t like the idea of an amendment for minimum-wage indexing. “Like the rejected amendments in 2012 — one to ban same-sex marriage, another to require a government-issued photo ID to vote — the minimum wage’s relationship to inflation is very much within the Legislature’s purview. It has nothing to do with state government’s foundation or function. … Senate conferees this year agreed to $9.50, but until last week they opposed the inflation autopilot. We share that view.”

Finally, don’t plan on doing anything other than the usual this weekend. At MPR Paul Huttner says, “ … that means a big dump of heavy wet snow is looking more likely Thursday afternoon and evening into Friday morning. Most of the model guidance lays out the heavy snow bands right through the Twin Cities at this point in a zone from southwest Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin. NOAA’s Global Forecast System  has come more in line with the aggressive European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts solution of the potential for 6 to 12 inches in or near the metro.” It’s not like the snow blower has been put away.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 04/02/2014 - 08:47 am.

    A ludicrous idea

    It is ludicrous to entertain the idea of giving the NFL tax breaks to get a super bowl in Minneapolis. There are only a few winners when it comes to who makes out with a super bowl and it isn’t the general public, it is the already wealthy. There is absolutely no proof a super bowl is a benefit to society. It takes tax money to run a country, state, and or a city. It is an opportunity to help our tax base and help keep taxes lower for the rest of us. Super bowl ticket prices will will prohibit the general public from attending the game. Why should we relinquish much needed tax dollars to give the NFL a free ride. The NFL greed factor is way over the top. If NFL is having financial trouble it would be good for them to manage their salary structure down to the real world and quit soaking the public.

  2. Submitted by Sarah Janecek on 04/02/2014 - 10:37 am.

    Kudos to Taylor

    Thank you, Glen Taylor, for buying the media institution that binds us together. That this binding is fraying fast makes your purchase all the more remarkable.

    Some perspective. 1998: Cowles sell Strib to McClatchey for $1.2 billion. 2006: McClatchey sells to Avista Capital for $530 million. 2009: Strib in bankruptcy unloads $380 million in debt. 2012: Wayzata Investment partners increases its Strib ownership from 49.8% to 58.2% for $4.1 million.

    I’m betting Taylor paid a lot less than the $100 million number floated in the NY Post. Taylor may be civic-minded, but he’s no business fool.

  3. Submitted by John Edwards on 04/02/2014 - 12:35 pm.

    Change is unlikely

    Glen Taylor’s purchase carries with it the remote hope that he can finally bring balance to a newspaper that has tilted left for years— and has journalistic scandals to prove it. Following the 1978 election, an Arizona firm hired to do the actual polling for the Minnesota Poll, wrote a letter to the Tribune disassociating itself from the poll because the newspaper manipulated the results the firm had obtained in the Al Quie-Rudy Perpich race for governor. The newspaper had altered the numbers in a poll on the Sunday before the election to show a Perpich win. Quie won.The St. Paul Pioneer Press, not the Tribune, made the letter public in a news story about a week after the election. The Minnesota Poll lost credibility and was shelved. When it returned about 1980 it refrained from political polling for several more years.

    In 1969 the newspaper quashed a poll just before the election in a three-way race for mayor of Minneapolis. The move became widely known and is indisputable. The poll, of course, showed the controversial Charles Stenvig beating DFLer Jerry Hegstrom and Republican Dan Cohen. In this case the poll was accurate.

    Other journalistic scandals also involved favoring liberal candidates. Columnist Jim Klobuchar, father of Democratic senator Amy, was writing speeches for DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich while still working for the paper. Because of the outcry, the newspaper had to suspend him for a brief period. In a 1982 case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court the newspaper had to pay damages to Republican Dan Cohen because it betrayed him as the source who had revealed the arrest history of DFL Lt. Gov. Marlene Johnson.

    The bias is reflected beyond the scandals. More recently we have editorialist Dave Hage moving from the Star-Tribune, to Amy Klobuchar’s Democratic U.S. Senate office, then back to the Star-Tribune. We have a host of former Star-Tribune reporters working for former Star-Tribune publisher Joel Kramer who started the hardline left-wing think tank Growth & Justice as well as MinnPost.

    I doubt Taylor will have any impact. As a Republican he is interested in profitability. The reporters he has to hire are predominately motivated by a political philosophy of “fairness” that usually means wealth redistribution. Just as Minneapolis police officers remain conservative despite being overseen by a very liberal city council, I worry that the Star-Tribune newsroom will remain ardently left-wing despite Taylor’s ownership . . . and that the scandals will continue.

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