Bidding intensifies for Newsday


Long Island Newsday quotes sources as saying Cablevision is about to make a 650 million bucks bid for the newspaper, topping by 70 million the bids already on the table from News Corporation and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman.

Perhaps as soon as today Cablevision is expected to submit a bid to Tribune Company of $650 million for Newsday, well above the matching offers of $580 million from News Corp. and Zuckerman. Like the other two bids, the offer from Charles Dolan at Cablevision is expected to be structured as a joint venture, much like the other two bids, so Tribune would not be hit with a big tax bill – a big plus as far as Tribune CEO Sam Zell is concerned. Newsday’s report says Dolan is seeking a Long Island partner for the bid, but is no longer working with New York Observer to bid for Newsday.

This may not be the end. Newsday suggests that Murdoch is likely to come back with a topper bid – and don’t count out Zuckerman yet, either.  

RBR/TVBR observation: The logic is obvious for Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman to each want Newsday. But why the heck are the Dolans at Cablevision interested?

Murdoch’s News Corp. can save a bucket of money in the beleaguered local newspaper business by eliminating duplication in overhead costs for the New York Post and Newsday. Likewise for Zuckerman’s Daily News teaming up with Newsday.

The main synergy for Newsday with Comcast, to the extent that there is any, is apparently with News 12 Long Island, the local all-news cable channel. It’s hard to see how either could save the other much in overhead, other than having Newsday reporters appear on News 12 as well as in print. Look for some Cablevision shareholders to rise up in protest at how the Dolans are throwing the company’s money around. But it won’t be the first shareholder uprising at Cablevision.