Los Angeles entrepreneurs Alec and Tom Gores are reported this morning (April 18) to be among three final bidders for Warner Music Group. Tom Gores's Platinum Equity owns the Union-Tribune and recently bought the Detroit Pistons basketball team, along with related assets. Brother Alec Gores's Gores Group on April 1 made an unsolicited offer for the company that owns "American Idol." (A third bidder for Warner is L.A.'s Ron Burkle, whose La Jolla Farms home is said to be one of the most expensive in the county.)
Warner Music is 51 percent owned by two private equity groups, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.
All this has implications for U-T employees and readers, who sometimes forget that Platinum Equity is, after all, a private equity group. Such groups buy and SELL assets; Platinum's normal holding period is 3 to 5 years. It is rumored that Alec and Tom Gores may separately or jointly be interested in buying all or part of the parent of the Orange County Register, which is emerging from bankruptcy and auctioning itself off. There are credible rumors that Southern California newspapers will combine in some way -- either under one ownership or in a loose confederation -- to cut costs. The U-T recently made some layoffs.