Friday, February 29, 2008

Guggenheim & Chandlers' `Newsday-Los Angeles Times-Mirror' Merger's Hidden History

(The following article about Times-Mirror-Newsday’s hidden history was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

On May 19, 1970, Harry Guggenheim sold his 51 percent share of Newsday to Los Angeles’ Times-Mirror media conglomerate in exchange for 600,000 shares of Times-Mirror common stock (worth over $20 million at that time) and $10 million in bank notes—despite a petition protesting the sale which was signed by 124 Newsday editors and reporters. And on Oct. 27, 1970, Times-Mirror purchased the remaining 49 percent of Newsday from Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim’s nephew and heir, Joseph Medill Patterson Albright for 1,042,500 shares of Times-Mirror common stock and 2,600 shares of convertible preferred Times-Mirror stock (worth over $37 million at that time).

In January 1971—less than a year after he sold Newsday—Harry Guggenheim was dead of cancer at the age of 80. He left most of his wealth to his cousin, Peter Q. Lawson-Johnston—whose mother was named Barbara Guggenheim. At Guggenheim Brothers and the Harry Guggenheim Foundation’s 537 Madison Ave. offices in Manhattan in the early 1990s, Lawson-Johnston still watched over that portion of the Guggenheim family fortune which he inherited from Newsday’s former owner.

Besides Harry Guggenheim, there was another member of the Guggenheim family who became involved in publishing. The son of Gladys Eleanor Guggenheim and grandson of Dan Guggenheim, Roger Straus Jr., founded the Farrar, Straus & Guggenheim book publishing company.

Asked by Downtown in 1991 whether the Guggenheim family still influenced Newsday at that time because it still owned Times-Mirror stock, then-New York Newsday Managing Editor James Toedtman replied: “I don’t know who owns stock in Times-Mirror.”

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Times-Mirror-Newsday Chandler Dynasty’s Hidden History—Part 1

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