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Burnham confirms U-T takeover bid

Point Loma financier says publisher Manchester backs move to nonprofit

Downtown financier and philanthropist Malin Burnham has confirmed that he is organizing a nonprofit corporation to take over U-T San Diego, the city’s daily newspaper and website, as first reported here earlier this week by Don Bauder.

Malin Burnham

Burnham, who over the years has played many roles in the city’s financial, political, and sports communities, said in a Saturday-morning telephone interview that the paper’s current owner, GOP developer Douglas Manchester, is interested in transferring the paper to the proposed new ownership once its nonprofit status is approved by the Internal Revenue Service and final details are arranged.

He said he expected the IRS process to take 30 days and that a deal could be in hand within substantially less than a year.

The Point Loma financier said that the arrangement would not include ownership of the U-T’s Mission Valley headquarters, on the site of which Manchester has proposed development of condominiums and spaces for commercial use.

“We would be a tenant” in the building, said Burnham. The question of whether the paper would continue to be printed at the U-T facility or jobbed out to another printer is still being studied, he added.

Announcement of a fundraising campaign to provide operating cash for the new operation awaits IRS approval of the venture, Burnham said.

As first reported here by Bauder in September 2011, Manchester took over the paper from Beverly Hills–based Platinum Equity, which bought the operation from David Copley in 2009. (Copley died three years later.)

Efforts by Manchester and his associate John Lynch to re-mold the U-T into a post-print multimedia powerhouse appeared to suffer setbacks when the paper folded its ambitious cable TV operation and an op-ed partnership with a Koch brothers–linked nonprofit, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, ended.

In addition to his political activities, Burnham has been a supporter of cross-border trade development and an investor in Mexico. His sports interests have ranged from the America’s Cup to part-ownership of his real-estate company with former Padres owner John Moores.

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Downtown financier and philanthropist Malin Burnham has confirmed that he is organizing a nonprofit corporation to take over U-T San Diego, the city’s daily newspaper and website, as first reported here earlier this week by Don Bauder.

Malin Burnham

Burnham, who over the years has played many roles in the city’s financial, political, and sports communities, said in a Saturday-morning telephone interview that the paper’s current owner, GOP developer Douglas Manchester, is interested in transferring the paper to the proposed new ownership once its nonprofit status is approved by the Internal Revenue Service and final details are arranged.

He said he expected the IRS process to take 30 days and that a deal could be in hand within substantially less than a year.

The Point Loma financier said that the arrangement would not include ownership of the U-T’s Mission Valley headquarters, on the site of which Manchester has proposed development of condominiums and spaces for commercial use.

“We would be a tenant” in the building, said Burnham. The question of whether the paper would continue to be printed at the U-T facility or jobbed out to another printer is still being studied, he added.

Announcement of a fundraising campaign to provide operating cash for the new operation awaits IRS approval of the venture, Burnham said.

As first reported here by Bauder in September 2011, Manchester took over the paper from Beverly Hills–based Platinum Equity, which bought the operation from David Copley in 2009. (Copley died three years later.)

Efforts by Manchester and his associate John Lynch to re-mold the U-T into a post-print multimedia powerhouse appeared to suffer setbacks when the paper folded its ambitious cable TV operation and an op-ed partnership with a Koch brothers–linked nonprofit, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, ended.

In addition to his political activities, Burnham has been a supporter of cross-border trade development and an investor in Mexico. His sports interests have ranged from the America’s Cup to part-ownership of his real-estate company with former Padres owner John Moores.

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Comments
14

Would there be any change in the slant of the Manchester U-T? Malin Burnham--the man who uttered a quote in October of '09 stating that less than 1% of Americans understand the complexities of large-scale developments well enough to make decisions on them. You mean like a new stadium, or expanded convention center, or a combination of the two? Or a new city hall (which I believe is why Burnham uttered this statement)? Screw you, Malin. Buy the paper, move the operation somewhere else, and give Dougie what he really wants--the property where the U-T building now sits.

Sept. 20, 2014

Burnham was one of Romney's 27 California Finance Co-Chairs.

Sept. 20, 2014

God has the strangest ways of highlighting ones decent into dementia. Poor Malin.

Sept. 20, 2014

In this case I think it is "descent" as opposed to "decent." Malin is anything but "poor." If the deal goes through, it may be a new chapter but with a similar storyline -- corporate masters with cherished notions pushing editorial policy.

Anyway, good for messengers Matt Potter and Don Bauder on this one. Our "alternative weekly" is worth its weight in advertising and circulation.

Sept. 21, 2014

Thank you Monaghan. I do check my spelling, in this case i should have proof read my comment. I have some respect for Burnham and so would hope he is not crazy by buying the hopeless daily. Only someone losing their mind would waste money on the carcass that remains after Manchester.

Sept. 21, 2014

LOL! The U-T as a non-profit rag. It has been non-profit for years. It is nothing more than a right wing political rag with no purpose but to promote the same policies that has resulted in the elimination of the middle class.

Sept. 21, 2014

Did anyone else notice this resemblance?

None

Sept. 21, 2014

That is funny even to an old guy.

Sept. 23, 2014

I have to laugh, dwbat, very funny. (Your reference reveals your generation.)

Sept. 21, 2014

This is great news .... Malin is a visionary and has close friends of all political leanings. I'm sure his product will be a vast improvement and very much looking forward to a UT under his guidance and tutelage. I think San Diego will enthusiastically embrace this!

Sept. 21, 2014

jv333 - San Diego readers would enthusiastically embrace 'news' vs. Political Propoganda. A little tired of being seen as an illiterate that needs to be led.

Sept. 22, 2014

I refuse to subscribe to the "U-T" and rarely even look at it. It is not reliable news nor does its editorial content reflect the community. I don't expect anything to change, Papa Manchester certainly wouldn't sell to anybody who would change the slant on his business interests or political bias. I desperately wish the Los Angeles Times would bring back a San Diego edition.

Sept. 25, 2014

The LA Times is having its own problems. And a San Diego edition would fail again, so it's not going to happen.

Sept. 26, 2014

What exactly is a non-profit newspaper and what are the standards? Sounds like another public opinion manipulation operation by another rich white guy. Wonder what their editorial policies will be.

Oct. 1, 2014

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