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Timberwolves owner Taylor to buy local newspaper


Posted Apr 1, 2014 3:37 PM - Updated Apr 1, 2014 4:45 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota Timberwolves owner and printing company billionaire Glen Taylor has signed a letter of intent to buy the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the newspaper announced Tuesday.

Details of the offer weren't announced. But in an interview with the Star Tribune, Taylor said he had made a cash offer on his own, with no other investors. He said he expected the deal to close in May.

The sale would put Minnesota's largest newspaper in the hands of one of the state's richest men. Forbes estimated Taylor's net worth to be $1.8 billion. Privately held Taylor Corp. has 80 subsidiaries and 9,000 employees working in a range of printing and marketing businesses. Taylor, 72, also owns the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx.

Like many American newspapers, the Star Tribune endured difficult financial times in the past decade. The paper fell into bankruptcy, emerging in 2009 under the ownership of its lenders. Wayzata Investment Partners and GE Capital together own about 80 percent of the paper's shares, according to the Star Tribune.

The newspaper is in the midst of another transition. It recently sold much of its downtown real estate to make way for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, and the paper is planning to move to another downtown location.

Taylor first made a run at a minority share in the Star Tribune in 2009, saying he thought it was important to keep community ownership. In his interview with the Star Tribune, Taylor said it's the only media company he is pursuing.

"I'm interested in this one because it's a Minnesota paper," said Taylor, who didn't immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Taylor told the Star Tribune he wouldn't take a managing role with the company, though he might put a family member on the board.

Publisher Mike Klingensmith said Taylor's offer "provides us with a long term owner that is locally based in our community. I think both of those things are important."

Taylor would be the latest billionaire to acquire a major American newspaper. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post last year for $250 million.

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