Cablevision sweet on Newsday; suitors circling

May 1, 2008

madison-square-garden.jpgWho says the newspaper business is doomed? Circulation and advertising may be in the dumps, sure, but judging from the bidders lining up to buy Newsday there are plenty of moguls still keen on newspapers.

The latest development: The Wall Street Journal reports that Cablevision is planning to bid as much as $650 million for the Long Island daily, which likely catapults it ahead of other bidders like News Corp, which owns the New York Post, and Mortimer Zuckerman, who owns the Daily News.

Cablevision’s bid could come within two days, the report said, adding that it was unclear whether whether Cablevision is working with New York Observer owner Jared Kushner in its offer. Beyond Cablevision’s cable assets, it owns the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.

The New York Times offered a different view. It, too, said Cablevision is preparing a bid, but it reported that the owners of the New York Observer have dropped out of the race.

Cablevision? Zuckerman? New York Observer? News Corp? What’s going on here?

These are smart, successful media companies and executives, so they must know something. Indeed, the New York Times reported that people briefed on its finances says that Newsday last year generated more than $80 million in income and about $500 million in revenue.

And it is, after all, the key paper in a relatively affluent area.

But get this: The New York Times also reports that some executives at companies interested in Newsday “learned over the last month that its printing, trucking and subscription operations were more troubled and inefficient than they knew. Paradoxically, that has persuaded them that the paper was worth more than they initially thought.”

Go figure.

Keep an eye on:

  • With time running out a self-imposed deadline in contract talks with actors, major Hollywood studios say the two sides remained far from a deal and that excessive union demands are to blame (Reuters)
  • Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, on Thursday posted a fall in first-quarter net profit as it lost basic video subscribers because of fierce competition from phone and satellite companies (Reuters)
  • Microsoft indicated a willingness to up its bid for Yahoo to $33 per share, but Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has also appeared ready to walk away from the deal altogether if need be, the Wall Street Journal reports , quoting people with knowledge of the situation. It reported that Microsoft’s board met Wednesday without reaching a decision.
  • Talk at the 2008 leadership conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies centered on politics and the economy (The New York Times)

(Photo: Reuters)

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Any comments from the unions? It’s my impression that Cabelvision doesn’t seem to have had a very positive view of unions.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive