Cablevision, Not Murdoch, Buying Newsday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cablevision Systems Corp. is buying the Long Island-based newspaper Newsday from Tribune Co. for $650 million, the companies announced Monday.

Cablevision, a cable TV provider, beat out media mogul Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp., who withdrew his own $580 million bid on Saturday. New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman had also bid $580 million.

The deal brings Newsday back to local ownership on Long Island. Tribune under Sam Zell had been seeking to sell Newsday lighten an $8.2 billion debt load it took on last year when it went private.

Tribune will retain a 3 percent stake in a joint venture to be formed containing Newsday as well as several related assets, including Newsday.com, some regional magazines and the free daily newspaper in New York City amNewYork. Cablevision will hold the remaining 97 percent.

Cablevision said owning Newsday will allow the company to better market the newspaper to the many households on Long Island that don't yet subscribe to it, while tapping Newsday's expertise in ad sales to help Cablevision's own cable TV advertising business.

Cablevision, which is controlled by the Dolan family, runs one of the most advanced cable TV operations in the industry and has about 3.1 million subscribers in the New York metro area.

The company also owns Madison Square Garden, the NBA's New York Knicks, the NHL's New York Rangers, and a group of cable TV networks.

"We admire Newsday's strong editorial voice and reputation for quality as well as its leadership in print and online journalism," Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan said in a statement.

"We are committed to maintaining Newsday's journalistic integrity and important position in the marketplace," Dolan said.

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