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The Roundup

Denver Billionaire Buys Daily Oklahoman and Sister Companies

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Posted 09.15.11

If you thought the Daily Oklahoman was conservative under the guidance of the Gaylord dynasty, you may be in for a big surprise. According to (Gaylord-owned) NewsOK.com, Denver-based billionaire Philip Anschutz has just closed a deal to buy The Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO) from the Gaylord and Dickinson families, who’ve owned the company for 108 years. In addition to the Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, the acquisition includes the Colorado Springs-based 5-diamond Broadmoor Hotel, Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway Company, and a myriad of other businesses. From NewsOK:

“Mr. Anschutz approached us with a unique offer in early June. Our Board of Directors had to consider his proposal seriously and from several different perspectives – that of our 254 supportive and patient shareholders, our thousands of employees, the communities in which we operate, the legacies of the Gaylord and Dickinson families, and the general wellbeing of OPUBCO itself. This transaction will not cause OPUBCO to disappear – rather, only the ownership will change. There are amazing similarities between the interests and conservative values of The Anschutz Corporation and those of OPUBCO,” said [Christy] Everest [Chairman and CEO of OPUBCO]. “Mr. Anschutz’s stewardship of OPUBCO’s properties will carry the company’s 108 year history well into the future. His roots lie in ranching and oil and gas exploration, and his holdings have expanded into publishing and hotel properties. His interests are remarkably consistent with the interests developed by our family over the last three generations, right down to his love of the West and western values.”

Anschutz’s Wikipedia page reveals that his “western values” have been expressed through a number of charitable donations to far-right Christian organizations, including the Institute for American Values (campaigns against same-sex marriage), Colorado for Family Values (organization behind Colorado’s notorious anti-gay constitutional amendment that was passed and then later overturned by the Supreme Court), Enough is Enough, and Morality in the Media. He’s also donated millions to Foundation for a Better Life and the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

Anschutz owns the San Francisco Examiner, the Washington Examiner, and conservative opinion magazine The Weekly Standard, but his entrepreneurial reach goes far beyond the publishing industry. From NewsOK:

Mr. Anschutz, originally from Russell, Kansas, is a graduate of the University of Kansas. Today, his diversified company has worldwide investments in oil and gas exploration and development, wind energy and electric transmission, real estate, ranching and agriculture, lodging and hospitality, transportation and telecommunications, newspaper and internet publishing, and entertainment including sports, film production, and movie theaters.

He has a stake in the L.A. Lakers, owns the Staples Center, and produced the “Chronicles of Narnia” films.

Last year, Forbes magazine called Anschutz “one the most secretive moguls in America.”

In a statement to NewsOK, Anschutz said:

“I have enjoyed getting to know Christy Everest and her team. I am very pleased with this transaction and my new affiliation with the OPUBCO businesses and their respective communities, and I look forward to carrying on the legacy of excellence created by the Gaylord and Dickinson families.”