Here's what little I know about the Press from a business vantage point:
It apparently lost money for the last few years, but has been turning things around. In the third quarter, it broke even, despite having some of its employees working for other papers at least sometimes. As a standalone entity, I believe it would have made money.
Second, I believe there are 34 employees or so at the paper, not counting those who work for the weeklies based in Bristol.I believe that more than 100 employees are slated to lose their jobs in New Britain and Bristol if the papers close. About half of them are in Bristol.
Third, I'm not sure the company is actively seeking buyers. But I am pretty sure that it would entertain any reasonable offer and maybe even any lowball offer, since here's what it gets if it simply closes the doors: Nothing. It would also have to refund some subscribers and shell out some money for severance. So selling is the attractive option.
The January 12 deadline could be extended if there is a definite commitment for someone to buy the paper.
I'm told that operating out of the 99 Main St. building is costly because its heating and air conditioning is difficult. I'm sure that selling the building and moving the operation to an office somewhere else would lower the expense.
Nobody should take any of this is as gospel. But it's a start for anyone who might be thinking that buying the paper is a possibility. I truly believe it has the capacity to make money, whether it continues in print or if it is shifted entirely online (though the latter option would, naturally, mean a smaller staff to match lower revenue).
I'll run through some initial scenarios for a possible purchase later tonight or in the morning.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com