In a slightly convoluted story (though, admittedly it IS convoluted), The Naked Philadelphian gives some justification for the recent snub of Bart Blatstein’s group in its attempt to purchase Philadelphia Media Network. The scuttlebutt is that a dislike of Raymond Perelman and his bad business practices are at the heart of the strange dealings. However, Naked’s Laura Goldman implies that Roger Altman has his eye on a cabinet position with the Obama administration and thinks Ed Rendell can get him some extra added traction. (It may be a long shot for Altman, as Wall Street bankers are not that popular these days, Obama would have to let Timothy Geithner go, and there are still a number of other candidates to contend with before Altman had a shot at Treasury.)
Philadelphia Media Network has hired Altman’s firm, Evercore Partners, to broker the sale. One of the current PMN owners, Angelo Gordon, is apparently eager to unload the entity he bought at auction in 2010. Alden Global is another owner whose CEO ostensibly has a bad business beef with Raymond Perelman, who claims HE was prevented from bidding on the media group (Ray was part of Bart’s homegrown group and made an unsuccessful attempt to buy PMN last time around).
Ed Rendell still maintains that he is just doing good for the city and its economy. He does not appear to be fronting any money in this venture, even though he is the frontman for his group. He also says he had nothing to do with the recent censorship debacle at the Daily News. Laura Goldman intimates that was also partly Evercore’s doing because they don’t believe Bart is a big enough player nationally so they froze him out.
There are more than a few local journalists who are suspect of Rendell’s claimed civic mindedness because his investor group includes people who are highly politically connected. Ed emphasizes his desire to keep Philly journalism independent and even spoke of erecting a “fire wall” between management and the day-to-day reporting.
We suspect this story will continue to be front page news — provided the local media continues to cover it and they can still afford to print a front page…