Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New York Post's Kalikow Wants to Buy the 'Daily News.' (Peter Kalikow)

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New York Post's Kalikow Wants to Buy the 'Daily News.' (Peter Kalikow)

Article excerpt

Peter Kalikow--a real estate developer who bought the money-losing New York Post in 1988, threatened to close it in 1990 unless workers sacrificed jobs and pay and who filed for personal bankruptcy last year--now wants to buy the Daily News from bankruptcy.

"It is abundantly clear to me, and anyone familiar with the New York newspaper market, that the current, and perhaps only, opportunity for the Daily News' survival lies in combination with the New York Post," Kalikow said in a statement announcing that he intended to make an offer for the Daily News.

He said that as long as the Post remainded profitable and financially sound, as it is, "the prospects for the Daily News on a stand-alone basis are not optimistic."

The statement was short on details. Kalikow did not say how much he would offer for the Daily News nor how he would operate the two fiercely competitive tabloids, though he suggested a merger of non-editorial operations.

Any sale to a competitor would require approval by the U.S. Justice Department because of antitrust implications.

Alluding to labor savings if the Post acquires its rival "unde the right conditions," Kalikow referred to "certain efficiencies, economies, and enhanced profitability."

If unions refuse to make concessions, he indicated, there would be no deal.

Analysts for years have suggested that the city could not support three tabloids: The Post, News and, in the last few years, New York Newsday, Times Mirror Co.'s entry from Long Island. All but the Post are losing money, and it is profitable mainly because of labor cost concessions employees made under Kalikow's threat to close the paper and because the strike crippled the Daily News.

The Post employs about 800 people and circulates 552,000 papers daily except Sunday. The Daily News, which cut hundreds of jobs to end the strike, employs 1,900 people and circulates 723,000 papers daily, 911,000 Sunday.

Kalikow's statement is the first significant proposal for some kind of merger.

The News, which has lost money for more than a decade, was handed over last year by Tribune Co. to British publisher Robert Maxwell after a strike severely damaged the paper. Following Maxwell's mysterious death, which left his businesses deeply in debt and looking for $1.4 billion in missing funds, the Daily News in January filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. It owes more than $20 million to unsecured creditors and is seeking a buyer.

The News' financial adviser, Salomon Brothers, has begun sending prospectuses to about 10 qualified buyers, according to press accounts.

A spokesman for Kalikow said he had not received a prospectus as of Feb. …

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