Thursday, November 3, 2011

Morning Brief: Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will offer his resignation; Booth Newspapers spilt into two new companies, home delivery cut, new iPad app coming

The BBC is reporting that the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will offer his resignation soon following what has been described as tense meetings between the Greek, German and French heads of state. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, the Athens News is reporting, told the Greek prime minister that Greece needed to comply with the bailout agreement or Greece would be thrown out of the Eurozone.

The government of Papandreou is on the verge of collapse after several ministers said they would not support the prime minister's call for a referendum on the latest bailout package.

The demands of the French and German governments may prove to be a actions that go too far in the eyes of the Greeks. The Athens News described the words of Sarkozy this way:
“We believe the Greek people are free and responsible for their choice,” he said. “We all want to continue the effort with Greece. But there are rules,” Sarkozy said, adopting the tone of an adult chastising a child.
The Greek government had called for a vote of confidence to be held in the Parliament on Friday, if Papandreou does, indeed, offer his resignation, this would force a scramble to form a new government, one that might not follow through with the referendum vote. In any case, the Greeks will long remember the bullying by the French and Germans.

Update: 11am EDT – Reports in Athens News say that the prime minister may now scrap the idea of a referendum, presumably because there is a lack of support for the idea in the government. The BBC is also saying that Papandreou will not submit his resignation, as previously reported. But all this may be part of the battles currently going on in the government. It would premature to resign in the midst of the battle.

One thing, however, that no one is talking about is what will the impact of withdrawing the referendum have with the Greeks themselves, will this lead to more unrest and demonstrations in the streets?

The split in the Greek government was caused by the Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos breaking ranks with the prime minister.

Not surprisingly, the European markets love this move, with both the German DAX and French CAC 40 up sharply this morning.

Advance Newspapers have formed two new companies out of the Booth Newspaper group, its western Michigan properties.

MLiveMedia Group will handle the editorial content and sales and marketing for the print and digital properties which include The Grand Rapids Press, The Muskegon Chronicle, the Jackson Citizen Patriot, The Flint Journal, The Bay City Times, The Saginaw News, the Kalamazoo Gazette,, Advance Weeklies and

Another new company, Advance Central Services Michigan, will handle production, distribution and purchasing for MLive Media Group.

With the move will come staff reductions.

“While we believe these changes will create growth opportunities for our current employees, the reality is they will also lead to reductions in our workforce,” Dan Gaydou, president of MLive Media said. “We will provide as much notice and consideration to our employees as possible.”

The move will bring a sharp reduction in home delivery, with that service only being offered Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday each week for its Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, and Jackson newspapers.

The company, though, said it will soon be launching an iPad app. "You’ve told us you now get more of your news via your iPad," Gaydou wrote in a column. "Well, we’re building an app for you. We’re changing every day, innovating and moving forward to become a more engaging, dynamic, digital news organization.

The company produced a video to introduce the move:

DanG from MLMG on Vimeo.