Connors, Purcell not in Boston Globe deal
Both Boston Herald publisher Patrick Purcell and former Boston advertising executive Jack Connors separately flatly ruled out being involved in deals to buy the Boston Globe, which is owned by the New York Times Co. Connors further said he had no interest in buying the Times Co.'s stake in the Boston Red Sox.
The Times has put its 17.5 percent stake in the Red Sox up for sale, and recent news accounts have reported that the company has also offered to sell the Globe, too. The Financial Times reported last week that Connors was in talks with Times executives to buy the Globe and the Red Sox position.
"There's nothing to it,'' Connors told the Globe. "I'm not buying the Boston Globe. I'm not buying anything that the New York Times owns.''
The Financial Times story also reported on a possible scenario of News Corp., owner of the Wall Street Journal, merging its Ottaway newspaper chain with the Globe, and shutting down the Boston Herald. News Corp. does not own the Boston Herald, but Purcell was recently appointed as executive chairman of Ottaway.
But in a statement today Purcell said he had no discussions as Ottaway chairman "with any potential bidders" for the Globe and called the Financial Times story "completely unfounded and not rooted in reality." The sole owner of the Herald, Purcell said he was committed to keeping Boston a two-newspaper city.
Last week, the Globe and several other papers reported that the Times is actively seeking buyers for position in New England Sports Ventures LLC, the holding company that owns the Red Sox, Fenway Park and 80 percent of the New England Sports Network. In addition, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times suggested the Times Co. might also include the Globe in any potential sale.
Times chief executive Janet Robinson said earlier this month that the media company would likely sell some assets as part of efforts to rebalance its portfolio, but was not specific.
The New York media company has been trying to raise cash before a $400 million credit line expires in May. Like most newspaper companies, it also has been battling a steep decline in advertising due to competition from Internet web sites and because of the global recession, spurring the companies to look for ways to cut expenses and sharpen its focus.
The Financial Times reported last week that the Times Co. "began discussions two weeks ago" with Connors to buy the Globe and its stake in the Red Sox. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Times Co. and the Sox reached out to Connors earlier this month to gauge his interest in buying the stake in the team, and potentially the Globe. Two years ago, Connors teamed up with former General Electric Co. chief executive Jack Welch to put together an unsuccessful bid to buy the Globe. Welch declined to comment.
(Todd Wallack and Thomas Farragher)