Never Mind the Shareholders – What About the L.A. Times Employees?

Recent articles in the LOS ANGELES TIMES revealed their parent company, Tribune Company, is fighting a takeover by another newspaper chain.  The no.2 shareholder at the time was suggesting it would be best for the shareholders if the Tribune Company complied with the aggressive takeover newspaper chain and allowed the takeover – for the benefit of the shareholders of the Tribune Company.  Since then, the no.2 shareholder has been replaced by an L.A. billionaire who bought enough Tribune Company shares to become the new no.2 shareholder.  He feels the shareholders would be better served if the Tribune Company stayed under current management.  The no. 1 shareholder also wants the Tribune Company to repel the takeover, too, and feels it is best for the shareholders.  The final outcome of this scenario is still to be determined.

Nevertheless, in addition to what is best for the shareholders, there are also many other people, employees with families, at stake when there is a corporate takeover.  Sometimes, too, the readers of a publication are affected if the editorial quality is threatened or compromised by a hostile takeover.

Having spent most of my life working in the advertising sales departments of newspaper organizations and national magazines, I have seen and experienced the cruelties of takeovers first hand.  The efforts of loyal, hardworking employees – whose dedication helped make a publication a takeover target – are often not rewarded when strangers come and often impose their draconian cost cutting methods.  The sweat and toil of who and what built a publication is forgotten. Ultimately, employees’ lives are often changed and not for the better.

No matter what happens with the outcome of this possible takeover, I hope the employees of the Los Angeles Times will be well protected.  They deserve to be.

Richard Wanderer





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