“Minnesota billionaire Glen Taylor expects to close on his purchase of the Star Tribune by the end of next month, fulfilling a goal he has had for years,” writes MPR News business reporter Marty Moylan.
It may not be too long before Taylor has a chance to buy another newspaper: the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
A number of industry watchers say the paper’s owners may soon put it up for sale, hoping to exit the newspaper business.
Taylor said he’d probably take a look. But before he made an offer he’d need to know the financial condition of the Pioneer Press and the potential for the Twin Cities to support two daily newspapers.
But there are other factors to consider, said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute.
“Assuming he were to buy it would he continue to operate it separately?” he said. “Would it be folded into the Star Tribune?”
Edmonds said there also could be anti-trust concerns arising from Taylor owning both papers. He said federal officials might block such as sale if it violates anti-trust laws enacted to prevent companies from obtaining a monopoly.
“Unfortunately for him or somebody in that position,” Edmonds said, “he can’t just call the Justice Department and ask, ‘Is this OK?'”
On the other hand, Edmonds points out even a dead newspaper has value – in its circulation and advertising lists, trucks, buildings and other assets.
If Taylor acquires the Star Tribune as expected, he could try to buy the Pioneer Press for its assets and shut it down, hoping to realize gains in circulation and ad revenue, Edmonds said.
Today’s Question: What if the Twin Cities became a one newspaper metro?