1/25/2007

Toll Road Conglomerate Silences Nagging Texas Newspapers by Purchasing Newspaper Group.

Don't like the bad press from dozens of newspapers?
Just buy them.


The Sydney Morning Herald reports Macquarie Media Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Macquarie Bank and Cintra-Macquarie partner, has swallowed American Consolidated Media (ACM) for nearly $100 million.

The purchase allows one of the largest toll road operators in the world to control some of it’s industries most outspoken critics in Texas, dozens of rural independent Texas newspapers.

The deal could help to clear a political path for potential Texas contracts worth Billions.


The purchase comes after the ACM’s rural independent newspapers have clearly been the most vocal opposition to the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC).

Countless articles over the past months and years peg the TTC as an eminent domain land grab. ACM’s publications had placed serious political pressure on the TTC, therefore future TTC contracts worth an estimated $185 Billion dollars.

Editorial independence
is being bought out.


The newspapers are the main communication tool for many of the rural Texan communities, with many citizens at risk of loosing their homes and farms through eminent domain. Future TTC contracts are estimated to effect about one-half million acres of land, and 4,000 miles of Texas toll roads.

Founded in 1998, American Consolidated Media is a privately owned media holding company. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company owns and operates about 40 newspapers, primarily in the small-to-medium markets of Texas.

Texas newspapers under the ACM umbrella include: Waxahachie Daily Light, The Hearne Democrat, Calvert Tribune, Alvarado Post, Bonham Journal, Ellis County Chronicle, Ennis Journal, Stephenville Empire Tribune, Midlothian Mirror, and the Franklin Advocate.

Macquarie is currently poised to buy more newspaper groups. From the Sydney Morning Herald report:
“The Macquarie Bank-backed fund, which already has broadcast assets, is "in a number of discussions" with other US newspaper businesses, including some exclusive negotiations, but declined to offer more details.”
This is Macquarie's first print media purchase and first move into the U.S. media market.

Macquarie Bank is the parent of Macquarie Infrastructure, one of the largest toll road operators in the world. Macquarie Infrastructure last year partnered with Cintra (Cintra-Macquarie) in a $3.85 Billion dollar toll road deal in Indiana.

D.J. Gribbin, a director for Macquarie, has just been nominated by President Bush to be General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation and is awaiting senate confirmation.
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UPDATE: Selling agent Halyard Capital finally returned my phone call from yesterday and stated that this deal is "subject to HSR", and would not elaborate. The FTC has an HSR approval process.

3 comments:

Sal Costello said...

Special thanks to Alice McGuffie of Waller County!

Sal Costello said...

FROM CorridorWatch.org:

****

Q: When is public infrastructure not public?

*

A: When there's a private interest to protect.

Under an agreement approved by TxDOT investors now dictate what and when
public service agencies can use state owned toll roads without the
taxpayer paying for the privilege to use their own road.

This is a prime example of how convoluted public policy becomes when
government is beholding to profit motivated private* *interests.

Consider these simple scenarios: A police vehicle driving a section of
the toll road to look for a lost child or searching for a suspect
vehicle must pay a toll. A fire truck can use the toll road to respond
to an emergency call without paying a toll but cannot return to the fire
station without being charged a toll. In any case the policy is toll
first and cancel later.

CorridorWatch.org finds it incredible that TxDOT could consider free use
of a state owned toll road by a public safety agency a privilege that
could be abused.

This is a minor example of the problems that can develop from terms and
conditions contained in the fine print. Just imagine what difficulties
can be created in a 50 or 75 year concession agreement.

Just how far with TxDOT go to protect their new found private investors?
You can bet it's 4,000 miles further than they will go to protect the
rest of us Texans.

David Stall
CorridorWatch.org

Rod Freeman said...

From the Australia people, sorry, we don't have a hand in Rothschilds front working in Australia, Macquarie.

Here's a list that shows more of what those thugs grabbing as well here (Australia), and overseas as well.
http://crgp.stanford.edu/news/global_projects_realnews_a_list_of_macquarie_banks_many_assets.html