It’s officially a horse-race for the tabloid in a tutu.
Madison Square Garden and Cablevision overlords Charles and James Dolan will make a $650 million bid for Newsday later this week, exceeding the $580 million bid that Rupert Murdoch and Mort Zuckerman have made in previous weeks, according to reports in the Journal, the Times and Newsday.
The Dolans will either go solo, or bring in another Long Island-based business partner, Newsday reports. They will not, however, make a joint bid with Observer publisher Jared Kushner, the Times and Newsday report. Mr. Kushner and Mr. Dolan agreed to go their separate ways in a phone conversation yesterday.
The Dolans are prepared to structure a deal similar to the one Mr. Murdoch already proposed. Newsday reports:
Cablevision’s bid is expected to offer a joint-venture component that would allow Zell to structure the deal to avoid the heavy tax burden of an outright sale, the sources said.
But the Journal reports there could be a hang-up for investors for the publicly owned-Cablevision:
A Cablevision bid could prompt some pushback from investors, who are likely to question the strategic rationale of the deal. The bid also comes as Cablevision is in talks to acquire the Sundance Channel, which could add to its roster of cable networks, for between $400 million and $500 million.
The Dolans have made some famously bad decisions, like their purchase of The Wiz stores, which shuttered not long after they purchased it. Last year, the Dolans attempted to take the company private but their price was too low, and since then, their stock has dropped sharply.
The Journal reports that the Dolans will argue that there is logic to the purchase to their investors:
The company sees potential in the geographic overlap of Newsday and Cablevision’s subscriber base, as well as its News12 news service. That could mean Cablevision could include Newsday subscription offers as part of a bundle with its other services.