1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Media General being told how to run its business by... A HEDGE FUND?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by steveu, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member


    For those who don't want to read the full link, it basically involves a hedge fund attacking Media General and telling it to leave certain markets. I especially love the following grafs.

    Joseph Cleverdon, vice president and director of investments for Harbinger Capital Partners, filed his own proxy Thursday, shaming Media General for its "cavalier attitude" toward creating stockholder value for the company.

    "We believe their presentation [last week] demonstrates the disregard Media General has for its relationship with its stockholders," Cleverdon said in a release. "Instead of providing a financial and operational analysis and a clear strategic plan to rebuild shareholder value, the company chose to defend its failures by offering stockholders a collection of scattered, unsubstantiated points and unwarranted attacks on our experienced nominees that serve only to distract from the core issues."

    Oh reaaaaaallly, Joseph? Look, I'm all for corporations and stockholders making money, but it's a "cavalier attitude" like this that gives hedge funds like this a really bad name.
  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    As bad as private ownership can be, publicly-held newspapers are DOA in the current Wall Street environment.
  3. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I guess that means they're not much of a candidate to buy Landmark.

    Is ANYONE a candidate to buy Landmark? Other than Pat Robertson buying the Virginian-Pilot?
  4. Moondoggy

    Moondoggy Member

    This is an interesting part from the link about this subject. Let me get this straight: The hedge fund is recommending MG abandon Tampa? Sounds to me like this fund is being operated by the SP Times :)

    In a proxy filing made late Thursday, Media General (NYSE: MEG) president and chief executive Marshall N. Morton blasted a presentation made by Harbinger Capital Partners last week claiming the New York hedge fund is demanding Media General move out of entire markets, including Tampa where it owns The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-Channel 8.

    "Harbinger clearly hasn't taken the time to understand Media General, including many strengths, our economic and industry challenges, and our strategies to leverage those strengths and meet those challenges," Morton said in a proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "It proposes that we consider exiting entire markets, including Tampa - long one of our crown-jewel assets - and react in other knee-jerk ways, such as possibly cutting our dividend."
  5. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    Anyone else find it a little creepy that the Hedge Fund's name is Harbinger? I'm always expecting to see 'Of Doom' somewhere whenever they're mentioned.
  6. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    Good for Media General's CEO for standing up to this shit.
    Hedge funds have one interest: making money, now.
    Newspaper companies have a different one (or should, anyway): figuring out a new business model that'll be viable in the long term. That means less short-term profit. Sorry, Harbinger.
    But if they get enough votes, they win. And that hedge-fund-type thinking is what killed off Knight Ridder and lots of other good companies in plenty of industries. All so a few guys can get a bigger house in Greenwich. Greed is good, as they say.
    Newspapers need to get out of the publicly-traded business, and quick.
  7. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    Excellent, GB.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    If hedge fund holders don't like the way media companies turn a profit -- invest elsewhere...

    Harbinger... hasnt that fund stirred shit before? Last couple years ,maybe?
  9. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    The best thing for newspapers would be for bean counters to invest elsewhere. Instead, they get on the boards of media companies and issue directives to dumb down the product and slash staffing -- ironically rendering us incapable of competing when the business model eventually matures.

    My two cents.
  10. Moondoggy

    Moondoggy Member

    Well stated.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    But who else is willing to invest in papers that haven't already? And for every hedge-fund blitzcrieg on one hand, you've got Sam Zell on the other.
  12. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Nobody is going to buy a paper unless they have some desire to play the big wheel in whatever town the paper's in.
    In other words, instead of shitheads motivated by greed, you'll work for shitheads motivated by power. Not so sure that's an improvement.
    Case in point. The Times has run the Globe very poorly. If Jack Welch, Jack Connors (local ad wheel) and their Mike Barnicle buy the paper, it'll suck way worse than the Herald on its worst day.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page