June 2, 2009

Flint connected: Union Tribune's, Delphi plants' new owner

Speaking of storytellers and Flint connections (Storyteller won't get regrets from me), the San Diego Reader published a piece on Who is the (San Diego) Union-Tribune's new owner.

That owner would be Tom Gores, once known as Tewfiq Gores, worked in Tom's Supermarket, is a graduate of Genesee High School and a 1986 Michigan State University graduate.

His proud uncle, Tom Joubran, also is in the article.

The magazine's writer, Matt Potter, explores much of Gores' early life here in the Flint area and interviewed former Flint Journal reporter Dan Shriner, who knew a lot about Joubran.

Joubran, who came to the United States in 1950, is one of the colorful people I first met when I came to the Flint area to work at The Suburban News, a small newspaper housed not far from Joubran's businesses. I remember the Mikatam best, but there were other bars, laundromat, houses, apartment buildings, shopping malls (Mayfair Plaza), and mobile home parks (Pineview Estates). The Reader quotes The Flint Journal estimating Joubran's net worth was $80 million.

Family counts

As the Reader article also reminds me, Joubran was a mentor to many and a big believer in helping family succeed in the United States. That's why the Reader article mentions Joubran in its profile of his nephew, "a billionaire who runs Platinum Equity, the partnership that has bought the San Diego Union-Tribune from the Copley Press, a San Diego institution for over 80 years."

Thanks to Gordon Young who publishes the Flint Expatriates blog for pointing the article out. Don't neglect the comments for more depth on the story.

Why a San Diego newspaper?

The Union-Tribune interviewed Louis Samson, who spearheaded Platinum's purchase, on the outlook:
"Big picture, we believe that newspapers like the Union-Tribune will continue to be very relevant in their communities as long as they are committed to delivering real value in terms of content."
Why the Union-Tribune? Here's my brief summary of the answers given:
  • Most relevant medium in the community.
  • Excellent market.
  • Good price.
  • Opportunity to improve operations.
That opportunity, which included maximizing revenue opportunities, included cutting costs. So the fact that 192 jobs are being eliminated by July 6 is no surprise.

Platinum buying some Delphi operations

Meanwhile, Detroit Free Press reported that Platinum will buy some Delphi operations.

"Delphi Corp., the largest supplier to General Motors Corp., said it has reached a deal to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The plan includes selling Delphi's remaining operations to a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, Platinum Equity, which has lined up commitments of $3.6 billion to finance the operations."
The Free Press reported that Gores said his firm understands Delphi’s business:
"We know the business very well and understand its potential. Despite the obvious challenges facing the auto industry, we are excited at the opportunity to be a part of its renewal.”

A big news day

Monday was a big news day in Flint with the General Motors bankruptcy and the Delphi news. How sad that our next newspaper won't be out until Thursday.

I found an article on Delphi on mlive.com, but there's no mention of the impact on Flint.

And there's a lot on GM on the site. and here and here and here. Too bad that on the "special GM bankruptcy page" you have to keep going back as the stories slip off the page and out of sight. I'll spare you my rant about the RSS feeds. Perhaps I'll follow Steven A. Smith who says in a Still a Newspaperman post on How I Consume the News about his former newpaper:

"A confession, I don’t read the print Spokesman-Review any more. I know some will say that makes me a hypocrite. But former editors will know what I am saying. It just hurts too much. When the paper does something good — which is most of the time, it hurts not to be involved. When something goes awry, I admonish myself for not being there to fix it."


Post a Comment