Monday, July 24, 2006

Anschutz cashed in on Examiner archives

A lengthy LA Times profile of billionaire Phil Anschutz includes some previously undisclosed facts about his purchase of the San Francisco Examiner and the bitter San Mateo County Superior Court lawsuit he settled with the paper's previous owner, Florence Fang.
    • Anschutz bought the paper in 2004 for $10.7 million, not the $20 million reported at the time by the Chronicle and others.

    • Anschutz has settled a lawsuit brought by Fang over the sale of the paper. In the suit, Fang said she instructed then-Examiner publisher Scott McKibbin to market the paper to potential buyers. She claimed McKibbin leaked confidential information to the Anschutz organization and failed to market the newspaper to other potential buyers. In an interview with the LA Times, McKibbin denied her allegations and claimed she was suffering from "a bad case of seller's remorse."

    • After the sale, Anschutz kept McKibbin on as publisher, paying him a $420,000 annual salary with a $180,000 bonus and a country club membership, court records show. He also hired McKibbin's brother, Ryan, to head his newspaper holding company.

    • As part of the settlement, Anschutz agreed to donate the extensive archives of the Examiner to UC Berkeley. In return, Anschutz got a tax deduction. The appraised value of the archives was $18.4 million — more than what he paid for the entire newspaper.

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