Please visit our new blog - The Union News.

"Vote early and vote often." - Al Capone (1899-1947)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Si Newhouse IV buys Blazers from Paul Allen

Related stories:
PERS buys Oregonian-Blazers from Newhouse
$$ billions - For the Newhouse children
Si Newhouse's mob story

Trustafarian to assume dual role in Oregon
Spending Si Newhouse's Money: Deal's nepotism value depends on Grandpa's checkbook

Let's see. Si Newhouse's father, Sam Newhouse, buys The Oregonian and the Oregon Journal in 1950 from local owners for a pittance, shutting down the Journal and busting the unions to create a cash cow monopoly - an unregulated toll booth - that vacuumed hundreds of millions from Oregon consumers' pockets directly to New York City for 57 years.

On Sam's death, Si pays nearly zilch in federal estate taxes and people say, "Sheesh, cost him $25 million instead of $1 billion." Then he spends madly on election campaign politics in tight embrace with Oregon's powerful government unions, and news editors say "Yeah, but we'll never let on that The Oregonian is owned by an out-of-state billionaire." And then Si's grandson, Si Newhouse IV, appears in a 2003 film called "Born Rich" estimating his share of the Newhouse inheritance, conservatively, at $20 billion.

So last week, the 25-year-old trustafarian and fencing-team member from Haverford College purchased the Portland Trail Blazers from Paul Allen for a cool $450 million in cash. He will move to a mansion in Portland's Southwest Hills.

Si IV will serve not only as owner of the NBA franchise, but also as its new President, filling the vacancy created in March when his Grandpa axed Steve Patterson. He will also become the new publisher of The Oregonian, replacing the aging Fred Stickel, who was sent here from New Jersey by his great-grandfather, Sam, to run the tollbooth in the first place.

But only if he gets this right: the transition away from a messy environmental legacy of newsprint paper-stream waste, and making the correct No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft. What we have here isn't just an opportunity for The Oregonian-Blazers to draft Greg Oden, win championships, and throw parades, but an opportunity for Si Newhouse to redefine his legacy.

More on Oden later; first some office gossip. Long before their latest round of smug self-congratulation, causing staffers to whistle, dream and smile again, The Oregonian used to get their jollies a different way around the halls of 1320 SW Broadway. They'd say, "SSNM."

It stood for "(S)pending (S)i (N)ewhouse's (M)oney."

Middle managers would say it when they finished planning lavish holiday parties. And they would say it when they handed out year-end bonuses, or used the color copy machine for family projects. And when someone ordered catered lunch, deciding to go with bottled water and an extra couple of plates of coconut shrimp, they'd point out that Newhouse was worth $20 billion and already had a couple of yachts, so what's the harm, right?

"SSNM," everyone said between bites.

There will be nothing accidental about what happens next.

The Oregonian, May 27, By JOHN CANZANO

No comments:

Label Cloud