New York Times Co. chief executive Mark Thompson told investors at a conference in Boston on Tuesday that he was “pleased” so far with the amount of interest the company had attracted from potential buyers for The Boston Globe.
Thompson, speaking at the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on the waterfront, declined to discuss more concrete details of the sale process. The Times Co. said in February it planned to sell the New England Media Group, which includes the Globe, to focus on its flagship newspaper and an international strategy.
Thompson, in response to a moderator’s question, said, “We’ve been very pleased with the interest, and the progress, that’s been expressed so far.”
Thompson called the Globe “a great newspaper in a great city” and cited recent coverage of the Marathon bombings as a display of strength. However, he said the Globe, as a regional newspaper, is “a very distinct business from The New York Times.”
The Times Co. has hired the investment banking firm Evercore Group to seek bids for the Globe, the BostonGlobe.com and Boston.com websites, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and other assets. In recent weeks, Evercore has held a series of at least six meetings with bidders and potential investors in the Globe, according to several people involved in or briefed on the meetings. Globe executives were asked to make presentations at those meetings.
Among those who attended presentations are a group comprising former Time Inc. chief executive Jack Griffin and two members of the Taylor family, according to several people briefed on the meetings. The Taylors sold the Globe to the Times Co. 20 years ago.
Representatives of the Kraft family, owners of the New England Patriots football team, also attended a presentation, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to discuss it.
A third group whose interest in the Globe has been previously reported — Heb Ryan of the private equity firm Boston Post Partners and Richard Daniels, a former Globe president — has not received a presentation, according to people with knowledge of the situation, because the group refused to meet certain demands of the investment bankers.
“Boston Post Partners remains interested in working with Evercore and is committed to acquiring The Boston Globe and the related assets,’’ said the group’s spokesman, Jon Tapper of Melwood Global, in a statement. “We have the operating plan and Boston-based financing to make a competitive offer and move the business forward.”
A bid by Ryan and Daniels on the Globe in January preceded the Times Co.’s decision to pursue an auction of New England’s largest daily newspaper. At the time, they submitted an offer of about $70 million, before the assumption of pension liabilities, which the Times has since said it plans to keep.
The next phase of the process is to open a virtual “data room” with more in-depth financial information on the company for those interested in offering formal bids.Beth Healy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.