Boston Herald Files for Bankruptcy, GateHouse Seeking to Buy

Sunday, December 10, 2017
GoLocalWorcester News Team

Boston Herald
The publisher of the Boston Herald Pat Purcell announced Friday afternoon to his employees that the tabloid had filed for bankruptcy.

In addition, GateHouse Media, who owns the Providence Journal and the Worcester Telegram will seek to buy the assets and name out of bankruptcy, pending court approval. The pre-negotiated selling price is $4.5 million.

The court will seek other buyers. The Herald will layoff 50 employees.

It is just the latest blow to the newspaper industry that is seeing a collapse in both revenue and circulation.

In a letter to employees, Purcell wrote: "I am very proud of the spectacular management team with whom I have worked hand in hand over the years. And I am equally as proud of the excellent staff in all areas of our company who have worked tirelessly to make the Boston Herald a relevant and respected provider of local and regional news for Boston and the area.

"Boston is a better city for the Herald's unique and fearless local reporting. Because of all of you, we are well known for our influential political, community, business and sports coverage across the region and beyond."

According to the Boston Globe Purcell said, “I wanted to keep Boston a two-newspaper town as long as I could, Apparently, this is as long as I could.”

The rival to the Globe was once owned by Purcell's close business ally Rupert Murdoch and peaked at 900 employees. Today, it is down to just 240 and the Globe does the Herald’s printing.  That may change and the printing could shift under GateHouse to one of their other facilities.

Issues like who will be responsilbe for significant pension liabilities are unknown. Employees will be forced to reapply for their jobs.

Purcell told employees that the company will continue its day-to-day operationsl, according to a report in the Globe.

Purcell, in his letter said, "In addition to great news and advertising coverage for our dedicated readers over the years, all I ever wanted to do was keep the Boston Herald alive. And it is with this pending sale that I am able to do that in these difficult newspapering times. I am certain this is the best pathway forward for you and for the newspaper we have nurtured together, in my case, for the last 33 years."

Purcell was named publisher in 1984 by Murdoch. Ten years later, Purcell bought the newspaper and has remained in the position since. He functionally cashed out, when he sold the Herald’s building and moved to rental space.


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