Boston Globe sale to Sox owner temporarily halted

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2013 3:59 PM

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A judge's order has halted the proposed sale of The Boston Globe to Red Sox owner John Henry.

The order was requested as part of a lawsuit by carriers of Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, which along with the Globe is part of the New England Media Group that Henry is purchasing from the New York Times Co. for $70 million, the Telegram & Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1aEgIqW0 ).

In the 2009 class action lawsuit, the carriers argue they are employees who have been misclassified as independent contractors. Their attorneys won the temporary restraining order Friday, when the sale was supposed to close, after successfully arguing it could prevent their clients from being able to collect a settlement.

The carriers' claims have a likelihood to succeed on their merits and they would suffer irreparable harm if the sale went through without the Times setting aside enough money to pay damages if the carriers win, Worcester Superior Court Judge Shannon Frison wrote.

Frison forbade any sale until further orders from the court.

In court Monday, The New York Times asked Frison to lift the order so the sale could be completed in exchange for setting aside a sum of money — determined by Frison — to pay a future settlement with the carriers. But the Times was not willing to assume liability for the suit just to allow the sale to go through.

The Times also argued the plaintiffs only should have access to the Telegram's assets, not the Times' or Globe's.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the carriers want the order to stay in effect until they determine the Telegram's worth. Attorney James M. Galliher said in court that he worried "creative accounting" would render the Telegram worthless, even though it's been modestly profitable for years.

He said that could leave the carriers without any guarantee there would be any money to receive if they win their suit.

Judge Frison told the attorneys she would issue a decision Wednesday on her restraining order.

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com