Asset-Stripping Lee Enterprises Is Being Sniffed By A Global Hedge Fund As A Former Griz Positions Himself To Cash In On Another Prime Piece Of Missoula Real Estate

by Travis Mateer

One of the reasons there’s any value in citizen journalist efforts like mine is because hedge funds that want to buy hollowed out newspapers assets, like Lee Enterprises, say shit like this about what will result if the sale goes through:

In a letter to the Lee Enterprises Board of Directors, Alden said: “We believe that as a private company and part of our successful nationwide platforms, Lee would be in a stronger position to maximize its resources and realize strategic value that enhances its operations and supports its employees in their important work serving local communities.

The “Alden” in the quote is Alden Global Capital LLC, and I’m sure they appreciate what Lee has done to get its limping group of newspaper rags to continue the semblance of doing “important work serving local communities”.

For a reminder what Lee Enterprises has done, here is an excerpt from my post on September 11th, 2018, as news broke that the Missoula Independent had been put down like a mangy dog in the street:

Today was just made all the more depressing by breaking news that Missoula’s alt-weekly, the Missoula Independent, is shut down as of 8am this morning. The doors are locked, the corporate overlords are smiling and Matt Gibson is victorious over the unionizing staff he threw to the corporate wolves.

This move will have implications that reach far beyond Missoula. Shutting down the Indy is not some isolated, objective financial decision, it’s a corporate message of intimidation to any other Lee Enterprises staff thinking of unionizing.

The corporate fucks who keep a few warm bodies in the Missoulian building to get in Twitter fights and protect influential non-profits, like United Way of Missoula County, aren’t done stripping their asset of value quite yet, as evidenced by the end of the MTN news piece:

Lee Enterprises has already been making downsizing/cost-cutting efforts in recent years. The Billings Gazette, Montana’s largest newspaper, announced in September it will sell its current building with the intention of moving into a smaller location somewhere in town.

The Missoulian is also selling its building in downtown Missoula.

And that’s where the article ends, just as the FUN is really starting at 500 S. Higgins, one of the most prime pieces of real estate currently waiting for the magical touch of developers.

Here’s my kick-ass co-host, Tim Adams, framing the irony of this on Twitter:

Where can Jim Strauss stash the Twi-porters? Hopefully somewhere where Patriot Pastors can’t find ’em.

Here’s the publisher of the Missoulian congratulating one of his Twi-porter for insinuating without specifying the Patriot Pastor needs to fact-check himself:

In today’s podcast episode, which I’ll try to post early since it was recorded yesterday, Tim and I have a great conversation about crime and narrative control, especially as it relates to the County Attorney’s office run by the infamous Kirsten Pabst. I also discuss some of the context around why I removed yesterday’s post.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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4 Responses to Asset-Stripping Lee Enterprises Is Being Sniffed By A Global Hedge Fund As A Former Griz Positions Himself To Cash In On Another Prime Piece Of Missoula Real Estate

  1. TC says:

    At this point I am all for Aldean purchasing the Missoulian (and the rest of Lee newspapers). The Missoulian has become nothing more than a stenographic operation; they “report” via press release without follow up or anything in depth. Once in awhile they are forced to actually report – as in the 7th Street infanticide. However, even then its with trepidation as they dont want to scare investors. They’d rather push that important and tragic story beneath multiple takes of the Griz victory (Up Montana!).
    It is my hope that Aldean purchases the Missoulian, shutters it to cease it being just a PR Firm for Egen, Slotnick, Buchanan, WGM, et al, shit cans a sycophant like Strauss, rids of us Woke Cub “reporters named “Jordan”, “Skyler”, etc (perhaps they will migrate to their natural environment TikTok).
    Sometimes (such as this) no print media is better than false/poor print jounalism.
    But hopefully Aldean will release the Independent archives so average Missoula citizens can see what actually has happened to our town under the last 20 years of the Engen regime

    • I don’t know if the reporting changed, because I can’t find the exact language now, but one of the articles I read seemed to go out of its way to indicate the neighborhood where this happened is usually quiet and that the accused had just moved there recently. It reminded me of how the Missoulian depicted Sean Stevenson as being from “out of state” when it was reported he was killed at the Poverello Center.

      I’m also pretty cynical about the delay in reporting and wonder if the BIG Griz weekend with a lot of people visiting was any consideration in waiting until Monday to report details, or maybe it’s just the low viewership of weekend news audiences.

  2. TC says:

    I believe the reporting (or lack there of) was intentional!
    Missoula has always had an inferiority complex – first to the Boulders, Bends, and Bellinghams. Now it is to Bozeman. The local Elite have seen Bozeman grow and gentrify as the result of Tech and Celebrity. They are not secure in themselves and so seek the approval of their betters (ie the moneyed).
    As a result, with lots of Bozeman folk coming for the weekend there was no way that the local PR Firm known as the Missoulian, wanted any out of towner to hear of Missoula’s grisly underbelly. Like a middle schooler they were afraid of being stuffed in a locker while trying to look cool to the cheerleaders.
    But this goes back further- Sean’s murder, Johnny Lee’s death, the RV death, woman found dead in the ditch near cemetery, woman dead in river (x4), woman found dead in culvert in East Missoula….and on and on and on. The Missoulian “had” to report these incidences to maintain the farce of being journalistic. However, never any follow up, never any details, never any admission that Missoula has some serious issues. Instead they shuffled that under and went right back to “reporting” how great Missoula was doing, how wonderful and brave Major Engen was/is, and (cant make this up) butterfly houses.
    (Dont get me started on Gomer’s Current – according to him its all unicorns and rainbows here in River City – as long as evil Republicans arent thwarting our innate liberal goodness (but please keep giving us free money)).
    No – it was definitely intentional!

  3. JC says:

    Need to keep an eye open for Twenty Lakes Holdings or Praxis Commercial or other associated ventures. They’re the subsidiary of Alden Global that buys up the physical assets of newspaper companies, like buildings and printing/distribution equipment. For instance, it would be interesting to know if they are involved with Cole Bergquist’s plan to gentrify the old Missoulian site into a piece of the new urban Missoula canyonizing the riverfront.

    Of course, neither the Missoulian or the Current will report on this…

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