Worcester T&G by way of Tokyo
More than 120 Massachusetts daily and weekly newspapers learned on Thursday that they will report to ultimate bosses halfway around the world after the private equity firm that owns GateHouse Media announced it was selling out to a Japanese multinational corporation for $3.3 billion.
SoftBank Group Corp. said it is purchasing Fortress Investment Group, which owns a senior living property management business and, through its GateHouse subsidiary, is the largest publisher of daily newspapers in the United States.
GateHouse owns a slew of Massachusetts publications, including the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester, the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, the Cape Cod Times, the MetroWest Daily News, the Enterprise of Brockton, the Standard-Times of New Bedford, and the Herald News of Fall River. It also owns the Providence Journal in Rhode Island and the Portsmouth Herald in New Hampshire.
Kirk Davis, the CEO of GateHouse, told the Boston Business Journal that the sale will have little impact on the day-to-day operations of the newspapers. Nevertheless, the owner of the newspapers will now be located even farther away — in Tokyo rather than Rochester, New York.
SoftBank is headed by Masayoshi Son, a flamboyant entrepreneur best known for his investments in telecommunications, startups, and ecommerce. He runs the second-largest telecommunications firm in Japan and also owns Sprint. He met with Donald Trump in December, after Trump’s election victory but before his inauguration as president, and promised to invest $50 billion in the United States and bring 50,000 jobs to the country.
Many analysts were puzzled why SoftBank would buy Fortress, and Son offered little explanation in announcing the deal. “Fortress’s excellent track record speaks for itself, and we look forward to benefitting from its leadership, broad-based expertise, and world-class investment platform,” Son said in a statement. “For SoftBank, this opportunity will immediately help expand our group capabilities, and, alongside our soon-to-be-established SoftBank Vision Fund platform, will accelerate our SoftBank 2.0 transformation strategy of bold, disciplined investment and world class execution to drive sustainable long-term growth.”
ML Strategies rakes in more than $4 million in state lobbying fees in 2016, setting what appears to be a one-year record. (CommonWealth)
The House and Senate co-chairs of a new marijuana policy committee say they are open to major changes in the state’s pot law. (Boston Globe)
In a new chapter in her ongoing battle with Exxon Mobil, Attorney General Maura Healey said she won’t comply with a congressional subpoena from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee related to the case, saying the committee has no jurisdiction over state investigations. (Boston Globe)
Members of the Governor’s Council, for the second week in a row, attacked and berated each other in what one declared was a “new low” during their weekly meeting. (State House News Service)
Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas says he received reports that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement was conducting raids in the city, but ICE denies it. (Eagle-Tribune)
A city councilor wants her colleagues to discuss whether Quincy should declare itself a “sanctuary city.” (Patriot Ledger)
US Rep. Bill Keating, in a Globe op-ed, calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Trump campaign connections with Russia.
Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, turned down an offer from Trump to succeed ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. (New York Times)
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The New Hampshire House, with more than 30 Republicans defecting, rejects Gov. Chris Sununu’s right-to-work legislation. (Eagle-Tribune)
Former British prime minister Tony Blair is urging voters to rise up against Brexit. (Time)
Maurice Cunningham raises questions about the “dark money” that went into the charter school ballot campaign. (WGBH)
A slew of candidates emerges for the open race for the South Boston-South End district city council seat being vacated by Bill Linehan. (Boston Herald)
Greater Boston felt the effects of yesterday’s “Day WIthout Immigrants” strike. (Boston Globe)
UMass Lowell receives a $5 million life science grant from the state to fund a biomed lab. Area high schools also received funding. (Lowell Sun) Gov. Charlie Baker hands out $3 million in life science funds to the Gloucester Genomics Institute and four area high schools. (Gloucester Times)
Former secretary of state John Kerry is heading (back) to Yale, where he will be the first director of a new initiative (named for him) examining important global problems from terrorism to climate change. (Boston Globe)
The principal at a Dracut elementary school resigns amid reports that he inappropriately touched a female colleague. (Lowell Sun)
New security measures are put in place at Boston’s school department headquarters in Roxbury following a recent incident in which a 15-year-old fired a gun at another teen in the building. (Boston Herald)
Steward Health Care makes its first expansion deal, buying eight hospitals in three states. It was unclear how the deal was financed, but Steward had previously indicated a real estate investment trust would buy the hospitals and Steward would run them. (Boston Globe)
The former premier of Bermuda, who is at the center of a bizarre lawsuit by the government he once headed alleging the Burlington-based Lahey Clinic bribed the former government leader, speaks out and denies the charges. (Boston Globe)
Gov. Charlie Baker launches a search process for a new leader of the MBTA and also asks the Fiscal and Management Control Board to stay in place through 2020. (CommonWealth)
As transit systems across the country try to add more riders, they face a time challenge. Census data indicate it’s faster to drive than take public transit in most cities, including Boston. (Governing)
Facing a nearly $1 million deficit, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority is hiking fares and cutting service. The deficit is being caused by a 10 percent drop in ridership, the loss of more than $500,000 in state operating funds, and a decline in advertising revenue. (Telegram & Gazette)
Worcester’s mayor and city manager urge state transportation officials to maintain direct Boston-Worcester commuter rail service and not add stops to the trip. (Telegram & Gazette)
Gov. Charlie Baker says he is powerless to stop a controversial gas plant from being built in Weymouth after federal permits were issued despite pleas from local residents that he take action. (WGBH)
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A Berkshire Eagle editorial praises a baby-steps approach to improve recycling.
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