16 April 2018

There is Nothing that High Finance Cannot Ruin

Who has been let go since 2013
Though it should be noted that destroying a newspaper is not one of the more difficult failures out there:
Demoralized by rounds of job cuts, journalists at San Jose’s Mercury News and East Bay Times in Oakland, Calif., took their case to the public last month. At a rally in Oakland, they handed out a fact sheet detailing the “pillaging” of their papers, accompanied by a cartoon of a business executive trying to milk an emaciated cow.

“Dude! I’d produce more milk if you fed me!” read the caption.

The drawing was a barely veiled swipe at the newspapers’ majority owner, a little-known hedge fund called Alden Global Capital.

Headquartered in New York with investment funds domiciled in the tax-lenient Cayman Islands and a clientele that is mostly foreign, Alden has been investing in American newspapers since 2009. Through its majority control of a management company called Digital First Media, Alden owns nearly 100 daily and weekly papers, including such big-city dailies as the Mercury News, the Denver Post and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The company’s holdings are notably concentrated in California, where it effectively owns every major newspaper around Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.


In an extraordinary rebellion last Sunday, the Denver Post devoted its editorial pages to series of commentaries about its parent company’s practices. “Denver deserves a newspaper owner who supports its newsroom,” the paper’s lead editorial said. “If Alden isn’t willing to do good journalism here, it should sell the Post to owners who will.”


Two things about the newspapers Alden owns are clear: They’re profitable, and they’ve been hit with far steeper cutbacks than other newspapers.

In a memo to employees last summer, then-chief executive Steve Rossi said the company was “solidly profitable” in fiscal 2017, and that its “performance in advertising revenue has been significantly better than that of our publicly traded industry peers over the past couple of years.”


Alden’s alleged practice of diverting resources from its newspapers is detailed in a lawsuit filed last month by another hedge fund, Solus Alternative Asset Management, which owns a minority stake in Digital First Media.
It is increasingly clear that the financial industry is primarily a parasitic activity.

When they aren't looting, they are scamming their clients.


Quasit said...

I'm curious. Would you happen to know if these hedge funds strip retirement assets from the companies that they're milking to death?

Matthew Saroff said...

Yes, it is typically one of the first things that they loot.

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