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Steve Chiotakis: Final bids are due today for the Orange County Register newspaper in suburban Los Angeles. The paper and its sister media companies are on the auction block. So if the sad reality is fewer people are buying newspapers, are newspaper companies worth buying?
Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.
Jeff Tyler: Freedom Communications owns the Orange County Register, plus other papers and local TV stations. Private equity firms invested in it a few years ago, and got wiped out. This time, it’s hedge funds buying up newspaper companies like Freedom that are just emerging from bankruptcy.
Martin Langeveld: None of these are huge investments because they’ve been able to buy the shares for literally pennies on the dollar in many cases.
That’s media consultant Martin Langeveld. I asked him: What does a hedge fund want with newspaper companies?
Langeveld: The pessimistic view is that they simply think that they can multiply their investments a few times by pushing for these kinds of corporate consolidations between the different companies that they have holdings in.
The optimistic view, he says, is that hedge funds will invest in a transition to digital media. But even the traditional newspaper companies bidding on the O.C. Register would also expect to save money by cutting jobs.
I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.
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