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Most daily newspaper stocks are up sharply this morning (Jan. 27), partly because the unveiling of Apple's new iPad has uplifted spirits of those in the daily newspaper business. In fact, Apple's Steve Jobs demonstrated how one can read the New York Times on the tablet-size device. Possibly, say optimists, newspapers will regain the advantage of immediacy -- something it has lost to the Internet. New York Times stock is up 2.46% this morning to $13.34.

But here is the point for Copley decision makers. The company essentially paid Platinum Equity to take the paper by selling $100 million worth of real estate for $50 million. The deal was announced March 19 of last year. At that time, New York Times stock was selling for $4.50, so it has nearly tripled during a period in which the overall stock market has gone up much less, or about 60%.

Stocks of other newspaper companies have soared even more dramatically. McClatchy has gone up ten times -- from 57 cents on March 19 to $5.67 today. Following are some prices of newspaper stocks on March 19 (the date Copley announced the sale) to today at midday. AH Belo 92 cents to $6.46; EW Scripps $1.57 to $6.81; Lee Enterprises (owner of the North County Times) 30 cents to $4.35, and Gannett, $2.21 to $15.79.

It certainly appears that Copley sold and Platinum bought near the low for newspaper stocks. Can the U-T cash in from the iPad and similar products? That remains to be seen.

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Comments

Psycholizard Jan. 27, 2010 @ 12:50 p.m.

When the UT published their Bulldog edition, they pioneered the first paper dedicated exclusively to responsible pet management, which may be the future of newspapers. There is no better place for your dog's business than the business page of the UT.

The patterns of your dog's business on the stock quotes are better than the investment advice found there. You know your cocker spaniel will not sell stock his business suggests you should buy.

It was the bizarre rants of Rob Kibble that made me quit reading. Jury tampering by newspaper is not a crime as it is in the UK, but it is still very wrong.

Newspapers may die, but there is a new generation that blogs and texts, good writing will survive, even in the hundred word essay.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2010 @ 1:23 p.m.

Response to post #1: When I wrote for the U-T, I figured that my column was a cure for canary constipation. The paper fit perfectly in the bottom of bird cages. My column, in particular, worked wonders with the ailing birds. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Jan. 27, 2010 @ 7:21 p.m.

Response to post #1: When I wrote for the U-T, I figured that my column was a cure for canary constipation.

I've always believed that Bauder's intensive coverage of the Mustang Ranch should have garnered a Pulitzer. Unfortunately the Pulitzer folks did not share my opinion. They definitely sleighted him. He was not the only columnist at the San Diego Union who was cheated out of a Pulitzer. Dr. Richmond Barbour should have received one for his column. No Copley columnist ever achieved the popularity that Dr. Barbour had. With Karen Winner on the Pulitzer committee Bauder will likely never receive the recognition he has earned.

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2010 @ 7:57 p.m.

Response to post #3: It takes personal passion to pursue a story like the Mustang Ranch -- an emotional commitment. As to Dr. Barbour: I agree that he was a great pornographer who also deserved a Pulitzer. He wrote for the Tribune, not the Union. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Jan. 27, 2010 @ 8:28 p.m.

Mr. Bauder's column was best for window cleaning the smoky offices where the deals were cut. Sunshine has amazing force. Civic vampires melted into orange jumpsuits. The undead live on, of course, and Mr. Bauder blogs on.

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chillblaine Jan. 28, 2010 @ 6:50 a.m.

Remains to be seen, indeed. Three months after Newsday put up a paywall, they have managed to attract thirty-five subscribers....

http://www.observer.com/2010/media/after-three-months-only-35-subscriptions-newsdays-web-site

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Visduh Jan. 28, 2010 @ 6:53 a.m.

To get back to the topic of the blog, these runups of newspaper stocks could be the most recent example of a dead cat bounce. Will people pay to read news reports on an electronic device when they will not look at the same reportage on paper? Maybe, but I'm not betting on it. In fact, I may just short McClatchy stock if it goes up much farther. When it sold for 57 cents a share, it reflected market judgment of an early demise. Have things really improved that much for the industry?

Yes, it looks as if David sold the U-T at the worst possible time in history. Just because he is/was rich, doesn't mean he was smart. One might suppose he could have surrounded himself with astute advisers and avoided such a misstep. Whoever was providing advice really blew it.

Whew, I hadn't thought about Richmond Barber in years. He wrote short sentences.

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 8:32 a.m.

Response to post #5: Oh, would I love to see those civic leaders in orange jumpsuits. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 8:34 a.m.

Response to post #6: There is no doubt: those paywalls may not work. Everyone will be watching the New York Times when its wall goes up. The Times is different, though; it is a national publication for intellectuals. Can local dailies succeed getting money for online content? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 8:44 a.m.

Response to post #7: Nobody ever said David was smart in business/financial matters. In fact, he had no interest in them. At least one of David's advisers was smart. Another had native intelligence but an ego so large, and an inability to admit that he could ever be wrong, that his IQ was irrelevant. If one got to the bottom of this, I suspect one would find that the timing of the sale was determined not by David or his advisers, but by somebody very close to David. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 28, 2010 @ 10:46 a.m.

Somebody very close to David, whose identity you cannot or dare not reveal?

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 11:04 a.m.

Response to post #11: Correct. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Jan. 28, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.

Re:#8

Orange jumpsuits reverse the catwalk rules. stylish now on rich old people. they look pathetic on dumb kids.

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 1:43 p.m.

Response to post #13: Orange looks great on rich old folks like Madoff. Best, Don Bauder

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PistolPete Jan. 28, 2010 @ 2:06 p.m.

I first learned of The Mustang from a fellow criminal and good friend while in charm school. Joe Conforte is a personal hero of mine. The guy was an absolute genius even for Mob standards.

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Burwell Jan. 28, 2010 @ 6:49 p.m.

David's financial affairs probably went to hell when he discharged his former lawyer, Karl ZoBell.

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 8:58 p.m.

Response to post #15: But the Mustang Ranch has come on hard financial times. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 28, 2010 @ 9:02 p.m.

Response to post #16: I first heard that David had released ZoBell some time ago. ZoBell wasn't talking and neither was Hal Fuson of the U-T. As I recall, I posted it as a rumor that I could not confirm. ZoBell continued to state on his website bio that he was a member of the three-person committee he was on with David and Chuck Patrick, and also that he was a member of the board. That was true the last time I looked, which couldn't have been more than six months ago. For all I know, they are still on his website. So I have never known the resolution of that.Best, Don Bauder

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