Reader: Would USAT be better in Murdoch’s hands?

Regarding my speculation about the value of Gannett’s hard assets, a reader asks: Would USA Today be better off spun out on its own? What would a stand-alone USAT look like? And would News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch (left) be a buyer?

Good questions! I’ve often wondered the same thing. Murdoch is one of the few media moguls still interested in snapping up more newspapers, after all. He was in the running to buy Tribune’s Newsday, before cable TV operator Cablevision Systems won the Long Island daily at a higher $650 million price.

Murdoch doesn’t want to trash The Wall Street Journal brand, acquired last year with his purchase of Dow Jones & Co. — a paper he’s now turning into more of a general-interest national daily. But with USA Today, he could install British editors, and turn the nation’s No. 1 printed paper into even more of a daily for the masses. More celebrity news! Topless women on Page 3! Nascar racing and professional wrestling!

How much would Gannett management demand for USAT, when newspaper values overall are plummeting? Your replies, in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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5 Responses to “Reader: Would USAT be better in Murdoch’s hands?”

  1. rmichem Says:

    In the second year of USAT life, when things looked bad for USAT, the losses, were adding up to the billions. Murdoch, did offer a billion dollars to Al, for just USAT.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    This is not a bad idea but one, IMO, Murdoch would pass on. Nearly all USAT revenue is U.S. national ad dollars. A real recession (which appears imminent according to Greenspan, et al) would hurt USAT dearly. Among the many talents of Mr. Murdoch, timing is certainly one of them.

    The difference with WSJ is that brand has international cache, has considerable online revenue and targeted reach.

    Plus, as you point out, sale multiples are very poor right now.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Memo to Murdoch:

    Bring it on!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Almost anyone or anything can run the newsroom better than the current cast of clowns at USAT and the empty suits next door at corporate. You might not agree with Murdoch’s brand of “journalism,” but would working in a British-style, tabloid newsroom be any worse than the current morbid environment that exists at USAT? C’mon, USAT is filled with ridiculous news and graphics, even when it’s trying to be serious. Every day is filled with gloom and doom and silly managerial tricks, like serving popcorn to keep the troops motivated. Scary thing is, it actually works for some! Gosh, give people some popcorn and they act like it’s the greatest place in the world to work. But most at USAT know that the flagship is sinking, nothing can get done without 10 committee meetings and that the place has grown old and tired in a relatively short lifetime. Some of the graying leaders have lost more than a step, and the new kids in line to move up never learned the lessons to qualify them for much of anything. History will repeat itself. The USAT newsroom is filled with people who should have been shown the door a long time ago (and everyone knows who they are and why they have been protected), while some truly talent, well-adjusted folks have moved on. The handling of the merger with the web site has been an outright disgrace and further indication that USAT editors are among some of the least talented people in journalism when confronted with a complex personnel task. Bring on more buyouts, bring on Murdoch or anything else that will truly blowup the current climate and roster at USAT.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    wow. wonder if that last post was written by an insider or one of the legions of outsiders who’ve always looked down on USAT.

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