And here’s where nothing’s changed.
Readers have been talking about what the potential results will be of HarperCollins/NewsCorp’s acquisition of Harlequin most of the day. What does it mean for libraries, digital readership, international romance readers, and the people who work at both companies? All logical questions.
And while Harlequin and HarperCollins have composed appropriately worded press releases and are making statements like “business as usual” and about fourteen thousand lawyers on both the US and Canadian sides are like GAME ON, there’s the part that actually sucks right now.
The media response to the acquisition is as expected. Which is to say, it’s so awful, I can’t even describe it adequately. There are no gifs or emergency cute baby animals strong enough to dull the pain.
Here’s Brian Stetler on CNN:
Harlequin has fallen for a charming billionaire along with the primary headline, Harlequin Swooped Up by NewsCorp.
“Swooped?” “Charming?” For real?
“Charming” is not the word describe Rupert Murdoch. Or was he tapping your phones and you had to be kind?
Also vying for first place in Completely Offensive Hogwash: the first sentence of Stetler’s article:
News Corp (NWS), the publishing company chaired by Rupert Murdoch, said Friday that it would pay $415 million to acquire Harlequin, best known for romance novels sometimes nicknamed “bodice rippers.” (Murdoch is, coincidentally, newly single.)
. . . .
And then there’s this steaming pile of crap, from the Globe and Mail, which is not (I checked) a TorStar publication.
Michael Babad writes about the signing of legal papers for a nearly half-billion dollar (CAN) acquisition, turning a Canadian company into an American subsidiary, as… a sex scene.
No, I’m not kidding.
Have a look: Make Me Melt: The sale of Torstar’s Harlequin as a bodice-ripper.
In the corner of the room, on this warm spring day cooled only somewhat by the breeze from the lake, stood the Harlequin, arms crossed and still in shock that he wanted a divorce after 39 years.
True, her sales had sagged, and he was desperate for money to pay his $160-million in debts. And, she had to remember, it was News Corp. that courted Torstar. The wandering eye wasn’t his. Not at first, anyway.
But it chilled her to her very core to become just another member of the News Corp. harem. And obviously, he had forgotten the good times, when she was younger and more attractive, before her revenue and operating profit gave way.
She understood it, of course. It was a hard decision for him – he even said so in a statement to the press – and the $455-million was good money he so craved for his shattered industry. Which is why his hands were so lovingly stroking the paper that would seal the bargain. Intimate, really, like he used to be with her.
. . . .
As I said on Twitter, do all nearly half-billion dollar acquisitions that change a Canadian company into an American subsidiary get written up as sex metaphors in The Globe and Mail?
No, of course not.
I know to expect the standard lines of media coverage of romance. I expect muscle pain andeye rolling.
I am not surprised.