Lee, following the Alden playbook of stripping assets, wrestled the Guild’s pension plan away from the union in contract talks last year. Benefits were frozen and the plan’s $40 million in excess funds, which grew over the years because of Buffett’s deft management of the pension plan, were shifted to solidify the pension plans of other Lee newspapers.
Taking yet another page out of the Alden playbook, Lee last year struck a deal to sell The News building at the corner of Washington and Scott streets. The deal is pending, and the sales price hasn’t been disclosed, but the building is assessed at $9 million. (The News now operates out of Howard Zemsky’s Larkin and Exchange building.)
Do the math and it appears Lee will extract about $50 million from The News in three years while making deep cuts in the staff, newsroom and otherwise.
“We know what Lee Enterprises is getting out of The Buffalo News,” Harris said. “We’re wondering what Buffalo is getting out of Lee Enterprises.”