All that news that fits, we print (part two)

That "Colorado company" just happens to be owned by Forbes 400 stalwart Philip Anschutz.

That “Colorado company” just happens to be owned by Forbes 400 stalwart Philip Anschutz.

Our “local” daily newspaper just got sold for the second time this year. The lucky suitor this time around was Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who has a variety of interests, from Industrial Christianity to oil-and-gas exploration to bicycle racing.

His Anschutz Entertainment Group owns, among other things, the Tour of California, which last year concluded in spectacularly uninteresting fashion at L.A. Live, AEG’s HQ in Los Angeles, on the same day as the NHL Western Conference finals between the Phoenix Coyotes and the L.A. Kings at the Staples Center (the latter two being AEG properties) and game four of the NBA Western Conference semis between the Clippers and San Antonio Spurs (also at the Staples Center).

AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company — which has its corporate fingers in everything from agriculture and real estate to the gathering, blending, transportation and storage of crude oil — has been for sale since mid-September.

Forbes estimates its annual operating income to be “in excess of $300 million,” so whoever wants to spring for AEG will need to write a bigger check than Anschutz did for the Gazette (the terms of the deal were not disclosed). The Wall Street Journal expects the price to be “several billion dollars,” according to the Denver Business Journal. Forbes guesses it to be in the range of $8 billion to $10 billion. Among the players said to be interested are Oracle’s Larry Ellison and that fabled private-equity powerhouse Bain Capital, according to Forbes.

And mind you, AEG is just one of Anschutz’s cookie jars. The 72-year-old has a net worth of $7.6 billion and sits 44th on the 2012 Forbes 400. He’s No. 133 on the magazine’s billionaires list.

So why does a player like this want to add a struggling newspaper in a smallish metro area to his Clarity Media Group? To have something to read while he’s hanging around the Broadmoor, which he bought last year? Beats the shit out of me. All the stories I’ve read are overflowing with the usual marketing gibberish — expanding product and market reach, creating a new level of excellence, having a passion for the paper and its community — but the “why” of the deal remains unanswered.

Speaking with the Denver Business Journal, former Gazette vice president and editor Jeff Thomas — who was laid off a year ago — said Anschutz “is making a bet that’s largely been decided to no longer pay off.”

“There’s no question readers will like a paper that’s fatter, and better and has more coverage,” he continued. “But that’s not the question to ask. Will they pay … and will advertisers pay to advertise in a paper that’s fatter, better and has more coverage?”

Indeed. And how much of that coverage will be devoted to the issue of oil-and-gas exploration via hydraulic fracturing — a.k.a., “fracking” — in a town whose city council just voted to approve a set of rules that would allow energy companies to drill for oil and gas within the city limits — a dubious practice wholeheartedly endorsed by the Gazette‘s editorial board?

I think I’ll stick with our locally owned paper for now. The Gazette is still in the hands of out-of-town right-wingers, and the only significant difference I see at the moment is that we don’t know what this new lot is up to yet.

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11 Responses to “All that news that fits, we print (part two)”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Bain, huh? Maybe your new neighbor will have a bicycle elevator in the garage.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jeez louise … what the People of Money won’t buy. I can tell you two things I will not be buying if through some trick of fate I ever become wealthy: a vehicle elevator and a newspaper. Anyone buying either is in dire need of a lobotomy.

  2. Andy Bohlmann Says:

    I put the Gazette on the floor here at home when we clean Darwin and Charles, my wife’s turtles.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Anschutz will buy the newspaper and flip it to Rupert Murdoch once the rules have been changed to let him own ALL the media outlets in the US of A. What would Bain Capital do with the money-losing “California Vacation” race if they bought AEG? Maybe they could sell it to BigTex who can run it un-sanctioned so he could compete again?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Maybe Anschutz’s son Christian is bored and needs a toy. I don’t know anything about these folks other than what I read in the newspapers.

      I haven’t heard much lately about The Cyclist Who Shall Not Be Named, unless you count Bruyneel calling cycling’s would-be reformers a bunch of douches on Twitter. What a pleasant fellow.

      • David R Says:

        Yeah, the silence has been deafening, no? I think that tcwsnbn – and I know this is going to sound completely insane – is just starting to get a bit worried. He’s a pretty sharp clown after all and I think he can hear the wagons circling outside his mansion as we speak…

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        BigTex oughta be worried about now…how much real income can the fellow have coming in nowadays? Sure, he can skim some off his charity and some more from the confusion between the .org and .com…but with what must be a pretty big alimony to keep the ex to her silence agreement combined with child support and his rather lavish lifestyle, cashflow might be starting to become a problem…hence his offer to settle one of those potential claims for a mere million or so? Ya gotta wonder what The Belgian is thinking can possibly come out of his hearing that would be positive…he’s pretty much radioactive in cycling these days so it would seem things can only get worse for him, especially if BigTex is called to testify under oath.

      • brokenlinkjournalism Says:

        Does ol’ Cancer Hesus still own that bicycle joint in Austin? I am sure he could make millions in the bike industry!!

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Yeah, as they say in the bike biz, it’s a great way to make a small fortune, all ya gotta do is start with a large one!

      • David R Says:

        Speaking of silence, anybody hear anything from Bob Roll over all this?

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