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The company has reduced a significant amount of its debt, partly through the 2009 bankruptcy and more recently with the sale of five blocks it owned in downtown Minneapolis for $38.5 million. The land sale also cleared the way for new development next to the Minnesota Vikings football stadium now under construction.
Wayzata Investment Partners and GE Capital together own about 75 percent of Star Tribune shares. The remaining stake is owned by several dozen creditors and other investors. Taylor said his offer is for 100 percent of the shares.
Taylor is a Minnesota business legend. Raised on a dairy farm near the southern Minnesota town of Comfrey, he once aspired to be a math teacher but was sidetracked by a job in college working at Carlson Letter Service, a “job shop” printing company. He eventually bought the company from Bill Carlson in 1975 and turned it into Taylor Corp.
From 1981 to 1990, he served as a Republican state senator in the Minnesota Legislature.
Today, Taylor Corp. encompasses about 50 companies employing about 9,000 people. The bulk of the company’s revenue comes from printing and marketing.
Taylor also owns about 30 companies outside Taylor Corp. The largest is Rembrandt Enterprises, one of the country’s largest egg operations. More recently, he expanded into medical devices by buying a stake in Envoy Medical Corp., a White Bear Lake-based developer of an implanted hearing aid. Taylor also co-owns Northland Securities Inc., a Minneapolis brokerage.
Taylor said that Star Tribune Media would remain a stand-alone company but that he likes to have “various companies in my organization work together.”
“I understand that this is a difficult business,” he said, responding to a question about the challenges that newspapers face. “I’m in a lot of printing areas and they are all difficult business areas. I have just found out that if you’re the best in that area, then you can do quite well.”
Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683