Friday marked another deadline in the bidding process for The Boston Globe and its related companies, with the roster of groups entering “best and final” offers changing shape over the course of the past week.
As many as six groups were looking to buy the Globe and other New England businesses owned by the New York Times Co. by week’s end, with one notable bidder stepping out of the mix. Red Sox owner John Henry and his New England Sports Network have decided not to continue in the process, according to people who do business with him and others familiar with his plans.
Other groups noted in past stories were still pursuing bids, including one led by former magazine executive Jack Griffin and two members of the Taylor family that sold the Globe to the Times Co. in 1993. John Gormally, a Springfield TV station owner, was believed to be bidding. Robert Loring’s Revolution Capital, a Los Angeles investment firm, also was moving to the next round, according to people with direct knowledge of their plans.
One new group appeared to have emerged in recent days. It includes Boston power brokers Jack Connors and John Fish, the president of Suffolk Construction Co., as well as shopping center magnate Stephen Weiner. They had been in talks to invest with the Taylor-Griffin group but split off on their own when the sides disagreed on issues of control, according to people briefed on the matter.
The owners of the U-T San Diego also may be entering a bid, based on public comments the newspaper’s chief executive made this week. John Lynch, the chief executive, had previously said he and co-owner Douglas Manchester were no longer in the bidding for the Globe. But during a speech in California Tuesday, Lynch told the audience he would know by week’s end if his group’s bid was successful, according to a report in the San Diego Reporter.
Lynch declined a Globe interview on the apparent change of heart.
A sixth group, led by Boston lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan and some local investors, was continuing to pursue a plan to buy the Globe. The plan involves taking some pension liabilities back from the Times Co. and offering Globe employees a slice of ownership. However, the group was not expected to submit a new offer letter on Friday.
The Times Co. declined to comment on the bidding process or the Friday deadline. It is difficult to determine precisely the number of final bidders because the Times Co. and its investment bankers have barred potential buyers from talking to reporters.
In addition to the Globe and its websites, BostonGlobe.com and boston.com, the Times Co. is selling the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and its website, as well as other related businesses.