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Copley Newspapers today (March 17) announced deep cuts in health care coverage for retirees. In trying to lure certain employees to take buyout offerings the last several years, the company had promised to pay 75 percent of medical coverage until the employee was eligible for Medicare. This will end March 31-- giving these retirees only two weeks to plan. The company will cover 75 percent of the costs of COBRA, or temporary insurance, until the end of the year in most cases. COBRA permits employees leaving a company to continue group coverage, usually for a short period. However, the expense is high. In its message to retirees, Copley said, "We know these changes may be difficult for you and your families." The message spoke of difficult economic times, particularly for the newspaper business. One revelation of sorts: the company said it is preparing "for sale of its remaining newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune." Some had wondered if the company had abandoned that effort.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 March 17, 2009 @ 6:11 p.m.

The UT is not going to be sold. The newspaper industry is in the toilet and getting worse. The paper has been for sale since last July-if there was a willing buyer it would have been sold.

It would be a stupid move to buy the UT unless it was almost free. If it wa me I would sit on the sidelines with a low ball offer and just let the UT go into the ground and wait, and make the UT take the low ball-or wait until it goes BK and then buy it.

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Ponzi March 17, 2009 @ 6:12 p.m.

Other news..I heard the SDUT has not committed to their sponsorship of the Thunder Regatta, the Unlimited Hydroplane races, held at Bayfair this year. That is likely to end the annual hydroplane races on Mission Bay.

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SurfPuppy619 March 17, 2009 @ 7:01 p.m.

I thought the beer companies were the major sponsers for the Thunderboats????

Sponsership for everything is way down. BTW-where is Bayfair?

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Don Bauder March 17, 2009 @ 7:18 p.m.

Response to post #1: I have said all along that everything depends on whether the U-T is making money or has positive cash flow. The recent moves, including the one today, suggests it is not making money and is not cash flow positive. So what's it worth? The 99 year lease on the Mission Valley property may be worth something (there is an option on another 99 years, as I understand it), but the buyer would have to decide what to do with the U-T. Liquidate it? Make it all- or partly-online? Slash the payroll further and try to make it with the ink-and-paper edition, along with online? There are several good papers on the market, including the Miami Herald. These haven't sold, either. But today's message to retirees certainly indicated that the company still intends to sell the U-T. But to whom?Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2009 @ 7:20 p.m.

Response to post #2: I can't imagine that the company would continue that kind of largesse. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2009 @ 7:22 p.m.

Response to post #3: I thought it was winemakers -- as in Thunderbird. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi March 17, 2009 @ 8:06 p.m.

Bayfair will continue... my mistake. Boeing is the major sponsor this year. But the SDUT pulling out almost cut San Diego.

Even though Boeing corporate moved to Chicago, they are still loyal to their Seattle roots. The hydroplanes started in Seattle and now race in 8 cities.

This is Bayfair...http://www.sandiegobayfair.org/main.htm

Anheuser-Busch used to be a sponsor of the races, but retired Miss Budweiser in 2002.

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Burwell March 17, 2009 @ 8:13 p.m.

I wonder who owns the land and the 99-year lease. Probably the descendents of some poor sod buster who farmed the property, or raised cows, before land in Mission Valley became valuable. The leaseholders probably reside in La Jolla living the life of Riley on the lease payments.

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SurfPuppy619 March 17, 2009 @ 9:19 p.m.

I wonder who owns the land and the 99-year lease. Probably the descendents of some poor sod buster who farmed the property, or raised cows, before land in Mission Valley became valuable.

The land lease has probably been sold several times over.

I would like to know what the lease rate is.

I do not think you can do an option on any land lease if it would exceed the 99 years of the total lease. The 99 years is in there for a reason, and by putting in options it would destroy the purpose of limiting land leases to 99 years.

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Don Bauder March 17, 2009 @ 9:45 p.m.

Response to post #7: Now we know. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2009 @ 9:48 p.m.

Response to post #8: As far as I know, Copley got the lease from the Golden Co., which long ago was sold to a large construction company. A lease that long is usually the same as ownership. Incidentally, I have not received confirmation that the company has a 99 year lease on that land with an option for a second 99 years, but I think it is good information. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell March 17, 2009 @ 9:50 p.m.

Other news..I heard the SDUT has not committed to their sponsorship of the Thunder Regatta, the Unlimited Hydroplane races, held at Bayfair this year. That is likely to end the annual hydroplane races on Mission Bay.

=============

This is certainly good news. I've hated the hydroplane races since the mid-1960s, and the noise pollution the races generate. They should move the races from San Diego to the Salton Sea.

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Don Bauder March 17, 2009 @ 9:52 p.m.

Response to post #9: I don't know that the lease has been sold. It's conceivable that at some point Copley bought it and took on ownership. There is a lot of land there, but the market is no doubt extremely soft now. Ditto for the La Jolla land. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi March 17, 2009 @ 10:38 p.m.

Burwell, sorry the thunder-boats bothered you. They only race for a few days a year.

The noise pollution that bothers me more and is more frequent than hydroplanes is the vocies of Scott Peters and Jerry Sanders. That IS noise pollution.

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Ponzi March 18, 2009 @ 6:56 a.m.

The Borrego Sun, for 60 years a fixture in the desert community, reportedly has been sold by The Copley Press Inc. to part-time resident Patrick Meehan, who runs a British entertainment firm.

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/mar/17/bn17borrego-paper-sold/?zIndex=68621

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 7:58 a.m.

Response to post #14: Yes, the noise emanating from City Hall has been noise pollution for some time. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 8:01 a.m.

Response to post #15: Copley had said it wanted to sell the Borrego Sun, but had not announced a sale. It still hasn't done so: this morning's story said the paper had been "reportedly" sold. The people receiving the bad news about their health coverage yesterday were the first to get the news: they were told that the Union-Tribune was the last remaining newspaper. They inferred that Borrego had been sold. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 18, 2009 @ 11:45 a.m.

Looks like I put my foot in my mouth on my earlier comments about the UT not being sold.

But, has there been a purchase agreement subject to due dilligence,* or has the paper actually been sold, deal closed???

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HellcatCopley March 18, 2009 @ 11:46 a.m.

Was that Karin Winner's head that just rolled by?

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Ponzi March 18, 2009 @ 12:06 p.m.

This is the most exciting thing that has happened since Gordon Gekko bought BlueStar Airlines!

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SurfPuppy619 March 18, 2009 @ 12:30 p.m.

This is the most exciting thing that has happened since Gordon Gekko bought BlueStar Airlines!

That's right "Buddy Boy"........LOL..no one is going to get this unless they have seen "Wall Street".

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 2:34 p.m.

Response to posts #18 and 19: Yes, see posts above. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 2:36 p.m.

Response to post #20: I am not aware of any "subject to due diligence" clause, but both Platinum and Copley are privately held, and certainly won't release much information. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 2:38 p.m.

Response to post #21: I would think that Black/Platinum would install its own management. I would certainly hope so. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 2:41 p.m.

Response to posts #22-23: Well, Platinum is a private equity group that buys, purportedly fixes, and flips distressed companies. It's Gordon Gekko-like. But as I said in another post, Platinum appears to be more of an asset flipper than an asset stripper. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 18, 2009 @ 2:43 p.m.

Response to poste #24: No doubt he or she has other admirers. Best, Don Bauder

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classico March 22, 2009 @ 1:34 a.m.

At least we can put to rest any positive lingering doubts about the owner of the world's largest composite yacht. I wonder what breakthroughs the UCLA theater department is achieving in its study of costume design.

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