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Doug Manchester Interested In SDUT Purchase: VOSD Report

Monday, November 7, 2011
posted by Bradley J. Fikes

UPDATE: Credit Where Due Dept: Don Bauder of the San Diego Reader discussed the rumor that Manchester was buying the U-T in a Sept. 29 blog post. Bauder properly called it a “strictly a rumor”, but one worth reporting.

I think that was the proper way to handle it. The rumor was widely given credence by local insiders, and journalists should let the public know what the insiders are saying to each other. (Ex-UTer Dave Ogul tweeted last week that Manchester was in escrow to buy the U-T. UPDATE – Ogul also took care to call it a rumor).

Today, Bauder wrote about the Voice of San Diego story that quoted Manchester as considering whether to purchase the U-T. Bauder also got in a little dig at one of his critics:

After the Reader report, Rachel Laing, flack for Mayor Sanders, sent out a tweet saying, “That post was an absolute travesty of journalism!”

Click here to get the tweet from Laing, a former U-T- staffer.

Tweet in haste, repent at leisure.

——————————————————

Hotelier Doug Manchester confirmed he’s interested in buying the San Diego Union-Tribune, according to the Voice of San Diego. His interest had been rumored for some time.

From VOSD:

Downtown hotelier Doug Manchester confirmed this morning that he’s considering a purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the local newspaper currently owned by Platinum Equity, a Beverly Hills private equity firm.

“There’s lots of people interested in that asset,” Manchester said. “There has not been anything completed. We’re looking at it. It’s a very complicated transaction if it were ever to come to fruition.”

For the entire story, please go to the VOSD story by clicking here.

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15 Responses to “Doug Manchester Interested In SDUT Purchase: VOSD Report”

  1. Jim Sills says:

    If anyone could revive the SD Union-Tribune and make
    it profitable, that person would be Douglas Manchester.

    Here’s hoping that he gets the chance to do it.

  2. Bradley J. Fikes says:

    This is also an excellent example of why we need media pluralism. While the Union-Tribune has some great reporters and editors, any news organization has a real or perceived disadvantage in covering itself. Kudos to Voice of San Diego!

  3. Aynd Rand says:

    I’m rooting for Manchester to buy the UT. He’s savvy and tough which are two traits you need in the newspaper business.

  4. Bradley J. Fikes says:

    Aynd,
    Manchester isn’t interested in owning the U-T, according to that savvy old buzzard Don Bauder. Here’s Bauder’s comment from his SD Reader post:

    “I simply can’t see Manchester having any interest in owning a newspaper, even if he had nothing to do with running it. He is a real estate guy. Period. It’s a bad market, yes, but that’s when speculators with long horizons buy.”

    Bauder also wrote:
    “The Mission Valley building was appraised at $92 million at the time that Platinum bought the U-T. Platinum wanted to rent out some of the floors but has never been able to find renters. The building, which went operational in 1973, could be a tear-down. The question is how much would Platinum get for that building in this lousy commercial real estate market. However, speculators like to buy when prices are low. There could be lots of variables. Over the last week, appraisers have been going through the U-T building, according to employees. The appraisers weren’t experts in the newspaper industry; they were real estate-oriented bean counters. Manchester was seen in the building three times in the past week, according to employees.”

    Bauder has good sources, so I take what he writes seriously.

  5. Jim Sills says:

    On a happier note, Mr. Bauder adds that the UT may
    well continue either (A) as an On-Line publication or
    (B) simply move to less-expenseive quarters else-
    where in San Diego and continue as a print paper.

  6. D7 Voter says:

    Bradley, while Doug’s primary focus is real estate development, he is and over the years has been involved in many non-real estate investments: biotech/medical, wireless, banking, etc.

    That all being said, I do agree that the real estate assets would be the motivating factor for him in the U-T deal.

    Finally, while Manchester is undoubtedly a very shrewd and successful business person, do not forget that he would be negotiating with Gores, who is quite tough himself…these two guys up against each other with neither willing to give an inch may be enough to simply kill the deal.

  7. Thor's Assistant Thor's Assistant says:

    Wasn’t the real estate a motivating factor for the last buyer (and current owner)?

  8. Sacramento Sam says:

    Nothing wrong with Thor’s memory. That is just what we heard the last time around.

  9. Bradley J. Fikes says:

    TA,
    Yes, in both cases it was mainly the real estate. One investment difference between a private equity firm like Platinum and a developer like Manchester is the time horizon. Bauder says Manchester looks many years ahead, because development is a lengthy process. Private equity firms generally sell sooner than that.

    Coincidentally, Platinum just bought a unit of Kodak for an undisclosed sum.

  10. Rhonda Deniston says:

    Great,
    It would be nice to have some conservative news for a change!

  11. Alger says:

    Rhonda,

    What would really be nice would be to get the news without any spin and leave the conservative or liberal bias for the opinion pages.

    I may be naive, but when it comes to news, I am with Joe Friday when he said “Just the facts, ma’am.”

  12. Bradley J. Fikes says:

    Alger, your dream is worthy, but the reality is that all news outlets have their various spins, or takes, or biases, or points of view, what have you. My advice is to read news from a variety of sources, which is easier now than ever with the Internet, to balance out the various biases.

  13. Alger says:

    Bradley,

    That is exactly what I do and I do realize that the news is and always has been biased one way or another. I do, however, think it is one more step in the wrong direction when someone thinks nothing of using their “outside voice” to ask for “news” that is biased.

  14. Bradley J. Fikes says:

    More from VOSD about the potential for Manchester buying the U-T.

    If downtown hotelier Doug Manchester buys The San Diego Union-Tribune, expect a familiar partner of his to be in the deal: John Lynch, the former local radio executive.

    Manchester, who on Monday confirmed that he was interested in buying the local newspaper, said today that Lynch would be a partner if that happened.

    “John and I are good friends and have been partners before,” Manchester said. “If we do anything in media, we’d do it together. John and I are great friends, we’ll continue to be good friends. If we do something, he’d be involved.”

    Lynch, reached on his cell phone, declined comment.

  15. john birch says:

    If PAPA Doug owns the UT, may i call him Father Doug? I must admit , I do love Manchester. He may be short on stature, but he is tall in the saddle, and that is where a man is measured.

    I would never call Doug Manchester PaPa, but I have no problem calling him Sir. Thor, I thought Platnum Inc. was run out of Vegas? I did a five minute opp research on Platinum Inc a few years ago and found some very sordid information on the owners. Well, sordid to some and corporate to others. I’m still upset that my dad’s LA Times stock went with Sam Zell.

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