February 14, 2018

Sentinel & Enterprise's parent wins $12M Herald auction

The Herald's offices in Boston's Seaport neighborhood. The newspaper has shrunk considerably since its peak in 2000.

Digital First Media, the Denver-based owners of the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, won the auction for ownership of the Boston Herald with an $11.9-million bid in a lengthy bankruptcy proceeding Tuesday night.

According to the Boston Herald's own reporting of its bankruptcy auction, the company outbid two other bidders, Revolution Capital and GateHouse Media, the latter of which owns the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, MetroWest Daily News, and other daily and weekly papers in the state and hundreds more throughout the country.

Digital First is also a big player in the local newspaper game, owning The Denver Post, Orange County Register in Anaheim and The Mercury News of San Jose. Its only other properties in Massachusetts are The Sentinel & Enterprise in Fitchburg and The Sun in Lowell.

Digital First's winning bid more than doubled GateHouse's bid of $5 million and Los Angeles-based Revolution Capital's bid of $5.75 million.

The company's winning bid comes shortly after it laid off a longtime Sentinel & Enterprise editor and closed that paper's Fitchburg offices. The paper is now overseen by its sister paper, the Lowell Sun, and the newsroom staff works remotely.

The Herald filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 8, the same day publisher Patrick Purcell announced a deal with GateHouse.

According to a Herald report, President of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Boston Brian Whelan said Digital First has agreed to hire 175 of the Herald's employees, and the union has had meetings with the company.

The deal is set to close by March 28, the Herald reported.


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