6 Unusual Things Owned by Newspapers

Getty Images
Getty Images

The Tribune Company has been in the news lately as it works towards selling off one of its prized assets, the Chicago Cubs. The company, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and a slew of other papers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, so it could really use whatever cash selling the Cubbies can bring in. While it might sound odd for a newspaper company to own a baseball team, the Cubs are just one unusual property held by newspaper conglomerates around the country. Here are a few others:

1. The Boston Red Sox

The Cubs aren't the only Major League Baseball team partially owned by a newspaper. The Boston Red Sox are a subsidiary of New England Sports Ventures LLC, which also owns Fenway Park and the majority of the New England Sports Network. While John W. Henry is the principal owner of this group, the New York Times Company also owns a piece. The publishing giant shelled out $75 million for a 17.5% stake in New England Sports Ventures in 2002, which makes it the company's second-largest stakeholder. In addition to the Red Sox, this share also gives the Times a stake in Roush-Fenway Racing, the NASCAR team that fields drivers Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, and Matt Kenseth among others.

However, like the Tribune's ownership of the Cubs, this arrangement might not last too much longer. Declining ad revenues have forced the Times to divest assets that aren't related to its core publishing business, and reports have circulated in recent weeks that the paper is actively seeking a buyer for its share of the sports empire.

2. Manheim Auctions

You may not have heard of it, but Manheim Automotive Services is the world's largest car auction company. The auctioneer has 145 locations around the world where interested wholesale customers can pick up a new set of wheels. Since 1968, it's been a part of Cox Enterprises, a media conglomerate whose portfolio includes such large dailies as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Dayton Daily News, along with several dozen other papers. The auction business isn't Cox's only foray into the automotive world, though. It also owns Auto Trader magazine, friend of anyone in search of a used ride, and Dent Wizard, a company that specializes in paintless dent removal.

Cox once owned an even quirkier asset to go along with its newspapers: Zack Morris. Well, maybe not exactly Zack Morris, but his syndication rights. For a period of time after 1988 Cox owned Rysher Entertainment, which held the distribution rights for Saved by the Bell. That the Atlanta Journal-Constitution never gave Screech Powers a weekly column is a reprehensible oversight.

3. Kaplan, Inc.

Kaplan, the savior of anyone with standardized test anxiety, is a subsidiary of the Washington Post Company. Founder Stanley Kaplan sold his tutoring company to the publisher in 1984, and the Washington Post quickly expanded the test-prep business by gobbling up competitors through acquisitions. The plan seems to have worked perfectly; while newspapers may be in trouble, Kaplan raked in around $2 billion for its parent company last year.

The Washington Post Company actually holds a number of interesting non-paper assets. In addition to magazines like Newsweek and websites like Slate, it also owns Cable ONE, a cable and Internet service provider for homes in 19 states.

4. eCRUSH.com

If you're a teenager who's too bashful to tell someone you've got a crush on them, eCRUSH.com will do the legwork for you. The site lets users anonymously make lists of people on whom they have crushes, and if two people list each other, then BAM! The site notifies them, and it's time for some hot hand-holding action. Hearst Media bought the site in 2006, and it now resides in the company's portfolio along with papers like the San Franciso Chronicle and magazine titles like Esquire. This sort of site probably wasn't what William Randolph Hearst envisioned when he started his publishing empire, but hopefully everyone will agree that it could really help spice up any sequels to Citizen Kane.

5. Metro Fiber & Cable Construction

This Toledo contractor can service all of your fiber-optic installation needs. It's also a subsidiary of Block Communications, which publishes Toledo's daily The Blade as well as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

6. The Scripps National Spelling Bee

The E.W. Scripps Company publishes 15 newspapers, including the Rocky Mountain News and the Knoxville News-Sentinel. It also owns and operates an asset that's probably more familiar to anyone who's flipped through ESPN in May or June: the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Scripps now runs the bee, which started in 1925, on a not-for-profit basis in conjunction with several hundred sponsors. It proudly touts itself as the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Living Near a Trader Joe's Can Increase the Value of Your Home—Here's Why

Trader Joe's can signal that local real estate values are high.
Trader Joe's can signal that local real estate values are high.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As real estate experts will tell you, the location of a residential property carries a lot of weight when it comes to its value. Proximity to schools, parks, and other homes selling for their market value are all positives. Apparently, so is having a Trader Joe’s nearby.

According to Reader’s Digest, the popular grocery chain—which is owned by discount grocery giant ALDI—can have an effect on property values. The data was compiled by ATTOM Data Solutions and looked at home sales from 2014 to 2019 across nearly 2000 zip codes. Homes that were near Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or ALDI were examined. Overall, homes that were situated close to a Trader Joe’s sold for an average of $608,305, more than those near a Whole Foods and almost three times as much as a home near an ALDI. The average return on investment (ROI) for a home near Trader Joe’s was 51 percent, or 14 percent more than the national average of 37 percent. The Joe’s-adjacent homes also held an average 37 percent equity, compared to 25 percent nationally.

You can view the complete infographic here:

Grocery store chains can be used to measure real estate values. ATTOM Data Solutions

For real estate investors, ALDI actually edged out other grocery chains, with homes near one of their locations seeing a 62 percent average gross flipping ROI and a 42 percent return on appreciation over five years.

Homebuyers may question whether the presence of a supermarket can influence home values, or whether it’s simply a matter of Trader Joe’s choosing locations in affluent neighborhoods with rising property values and deeming them a good prospect for the chain’s expansion. Either way, the store appears to be a signpost that you stand a good chance of profiting from your property.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]