Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Here’s our quick take on the Oklahoman being sold to Philip Anschutz

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Christy Everest announced today that OPUBCO — which includes the Oklahoman, NewsOK.com and, yes, even Wimgo.com — will be acquired by the Anschutz Group.

This news is surprising, but not too surprising. If anything, we probably should have seen it coming. In addition to the well publicized struggles of the newspaper industry, just look at some of the recent events that have taken place in the Dark Tower:

1. In response to sagging revenues, The Oklahoman began a series of massive layoffs in 2008. This resulted in many longtime (and loyal) employees losing their jobs or taking early retirement. OPUBCO also began cutting costs at all corners, eliminating delivery in remote areas and even closing their childcare facility.

2. On January 23rd, 2009, the Oklahoman and Tulsa World announced they would begin to share content. Of course, we announced the same news on January 22nd, 2009.

3. In June, well-liked and well-respected Managing Editor Ed Kelley fled the Dark Tower for the zany Washington Times. Not soon after, Publisher David Thompson announced he was retiring. Both positions were filled with longtime OPUBCO Kool-aid drinkers Kelly Dyer Fry (Editor) Chris “Wimgo” Reen (President).

Knowing all that, I guess it’s not too surprising that the Gaylord family finally decided to cash out. You can’t blame them. I have no clue what the sales price is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the billions. If someone offer me a billion – or $10,000 — for this website I’d probably take it.

Anyway, here are some other thoughts about this jaw dropping story:

My Grandpa will need to find a new rich Oklahoma family to blame on everything. The Gaylord Family has always been my Grandpa’s favorite scapegoat. He blames them for just about everything that ever goes wrong (or right) in Oklahoma City. Although the family will still run the paper and continue to use their clout, money and influence to protect and nurture their own personal interests and those of their friends, it’s not as fun to blame them for everything if they don’t own the paper.

The new owner of the paper, Philip Anschutz, is the 124th richest person in the world. He’s also a Grade-A right-wing wacko. The estimated net worth of Philip Anschutz is $7.5-billion. He’s a major contributor to Institute for American Values, Morality in the Media and several anti-gay rights groups. He also co-founded Major League Soccer and helped produce the crummy Chronicles of Narnia movies. All of those things are dumb.

• Phillip Anschutz looks like Lee Corso.

• What impact will this have on the local community. Say what you want about their politics, but at least OPUBCO tried it’s best to be good stewards of the community. They were actively involved in the local chamber of commerce, and seemed to base some decisions on what they felt was right for Oklahoma.  Now that they are owned by some billionaire from Denver, you have to wonder if they will continue.

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Comments

  1. Patrick, “If someone offer me …$10,000 — for this website I’d probably take it.” Walker accepts! Swing by my office and let’s work on the paperwork. We can announce the full terms of the deal to the public sometime this fall. Sincerely, Walker

      • I’d rather our negotiations not be for public consumption. But, if you insist. Website $10,000.00 and your indentured servitude contract for $499.00 per month?…for how many years? During the transition of ownership of The Oklahoman we have an opportunity to corner the media market. Let’s strike while the irons hot….all we need is some Joleen Chaney ala Scarlett Johansson cell phone pics and OKC is ours…ours I tell you!

  2. Since it seemed like two-thirds of the Oklahoman’s content was from AP.com, there wasn’t really any point in paying for it unless you liked seeing the entertainment reporters shoehorn any kind of Oklahoma connection with the celebrities they interviewed.

  3. Here you go….

    http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/opening_bell_new_fronts_in_the.php?page=2

    From 2008,

    IRS is after Anschutz

    The Journal on A1 reports that the IRS is trying to get one heckuva tax bill out of billionaire Philip Anschutz. The government says he owes it $144 million in back taxes, and the Journal says the “court battle is part of a broad attempt by tax authorities to crack down on complex transactions used to defer paying capital-gains taxes.”

    The paper says executives at other big companies have used “variable prepaid forward contracts” like Anschutz did, though it isn’t clear whether they did so for tax purposes, though it’s “typical” of such deals. Not one of the six companies, including Starbucks, Tyson Foods, and Cablevision Systems, would comment.

    Much attention in the current presidential campaign has focused on tax breaks for the wealthy, including the cutting of the capital-gains tax rate to 15% early in the Bush administration. But less noticed is how some of the wealthiest Americans sometimes don’t even pay that full 15% rate, by deferring their taxes for many years. In Mr. Anschutz’s case, the transaction is scheduled to defer the taxes for nearly a decade.
    Critics say such transactions could undermine the progressive nature of the income-tax system, because the deferrals effectively lower the taxes paid by the extremely wealthy.

  4. I like your comparison to Mr. Corso,
    but I think he looks like Minnie Pearl.
    Also like the loops-the-loops thing.
    Very Alvin.

  5. Anschitz ain’t buying OPUBCO as a business investment alone. He has something up his sleeve, that’s how he rolls. I’d lay odds that he thinks this is a red state through and through as well and can test his pet theories of conservativism in the paper to see how the crazy plays out. As long as there is freedom to rebut, we shall be there, rebuttin-at-large.

  6. I might add that the AEG sure looks like it might position itself dead center into the convention center issue to boot.

  7. Did the sale include the naming rights to the University of Oklahoma stadium? So will the University of Oklahoma have to rename the football stadium the “Anschutz Family Memorial Stadium”.

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