Richard Connor is clearly not in the real-estate business.
He bought a landmark Portland
property in June and sold it in July for no profit. And while he paid
significantly less than the assessed value according to city records, perhaps
he was just trying to break
even on that part of the deal, which bought him three newspapers and rather a
lot of real estate for a total of an estimated $30 million to $40 million.
UPDATED WITH LINK TO THE UNION'S SUMMARY OF THE CONTRACT.
After months and months of trying to put together a deal (and after years of preparation on the part of the Blethens), it appears that Richard Connor, the union-busting Bangor native who runs the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader newspaper in Pennsylvania, may be close to actually getting ink on paper to buy the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Central Maine Morning Sentinel, the Kennebec Journal, and associated Web sites and - most importantly - about $30 million in real estate
For those who think I don't give credit where it's due, I am announcing that the Blethen Maine Newspapers have today published a must-read piece. Naomi Schalit, opinion page editor at the Kennebec Journal and Central Maine Morning Sentinel, has an excruciating - and no less so for its nobility - account of domestic violence in her own life, and in the lives of others
Seattle may soon have just one daily paper - the Blethen-owned Seattle Times - with today's announcement that the Post-Intelligencer (owned by Hearst) is for sale. Not sure what that might do to the Blethens' finances - they have battled to terminate the joint operating agreement under which they and the P-I share some resources, and claimed that it was dragging them under.
The purgatory stay of the Portland Press Herald has been extended until "early next year," mainly because the financing hasn't come together yet for the purchasers, according to an article in today's Press Herald. The Blethens may be upset, because they had hoped to use the capital losses on the PPH sale to offset gains on real-estate sales.
For a while, the Press Herald has been saying that a sale needs to close before the end of the year to work for the Blethens. Part of this is related to the fact that the Blethens will take a capital loss on the deal, and the loss can be used to offset some of the Blethens' tax obligations from their capital gains on the sale of some property in Seattle earlier this year.