The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 1, 2014

Update: Taylor seeks to buy Star Tribune

Businessman says local ownership is best route for paper

MANKATO — Mankato billionaire Glen Taylor is seeking to buy the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he said Tuesday.

Taylor, 72, said in an interview with The Free Press that his goal is to help the state keep a source for high-quality and accurate information. The Star Tribune is the first media content company he’s purchased, he said, "and probably my last."

The purchase is less a strategic addition to his business empire and more of a “once-in-a-lifetime deal.”

Like Taylor Corp., the Star Tribune’s management structure would outlast its owner through the use of trusts and foundations.

“Then the paper can plan long run and think long run and make decisions that way,” he said.

Taylor said he wasn’t planning on taking a hands-on approach and would instead leave the company in the hands of its board.

He also said the Star Tribune could work with some of the dozens of companies he already owns, though not in the printing arena. Taylor said technology companies that aim to communicate with their customers have the same opportunities as media companies.

“We’ll throw those teams together to work,” said Taylor, who declined to be more specific about those ideas.

The Star Tribune’s CEO, Michael Klingensmith, said in a news release that the best possible situation is to “have a long-term, local owner who knows and is vested in our community."

In a separate interview with the Star Tribune, Taylor said he made a cash offer to buy the paper without any other investors but declined to say how much money he offered. The paper also reported that its company’s board recently approved Taylor’s level of intent.

Taylor, who Forbes reported has a $1.8 billion net worth, owns North Mankato-based Taylor Corp. He is also the majority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx and dozens of other companies.

In his Star Tribune interview, Taylor said he knows newspapers are a difficult business, but that he's involved in a lot of challenging businesses.

“I have just found out that if you’re the best in that area, then you can do quite well," he told the paper.

If the acquisition goes forward, it will likely be complete by this spring, according to the release.

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