Vazquez-Rana -- Look at His Mexican Operation

Here's a December 1985 story from Editor & Publisher on Mario Vazquez-Rana's Mexican operation:

Mario Vazquez-Rana, the Mexican publisher seeking to own 90 percent of United Press International, is a man who places employee morale at the top of his priorities, according to officials of the news service.

Vazquez-Rana's Organizacion Editorial Mexicana publishes the 62 newspapers comprising the El Sol chain and the sports daily, Esto.

UPI officials said Vazquez-Rana employs 11,000 people at his newspapers who are represented by 32 unions. They characterized him as a tough negotiator, but also as someone interested in maintaining high standards of safety at his plants.

His concern for employee welfare includes well-stock cafeterias, on-site medical facilities and a store at his Mexico City headquarters which sells all manner of merchandise to employees at substantial discounts, often in the 40 percent range.

The merchandise is accumulated, UPI officials said, through advertising trade-offs with retailers and manufacturers.

All of the newsprint used by OEM is recycled, they said, and their consumption accounts for over 27 percent of the total newsprint used in Mexico.

UPI officials also described OEM as being highly advanced technologically.

Nine of the El Sol papers are linked via their Harris 1800 front end systems to the main database of OEM's Mexico City paper. UPI officials said the Mexico City paper electronically transmits its national news copy to these local papers who then use the information to produce and insert their own national news sections.

OEM plans to have all 62 papers linked to this central transmission system for national news "within a couple of months," said UPI spokesman David Wickenden.

The El Sol newspapers are major clients in Mexico of The Associated Press as well as UPI. The chain recently agreed to purchase over $1 million in photo transmission equipment from UPI's main competitor.

After his winning bid for the news service was announced, UPI officials said AP sent a three-man delegation to OEM who were assured by Vazquez-Rana that he would not renege on the deal.

UPI officials said that Vazquez-Rana also sent a memo to his editorial employees telling them not to favor UPI's news reports over AP's.

Before Vazquez-Rana's bid was accepted, UPI conducted a thorough investigation of his background. They said the investigation not only involved searching through all publicly available documents and records -- including the NEXIS computerized database -- but also making inquiries about the publisher's background through diplomatic channels.

UPI officials said other American news organizations, including The New York Times, also checked out Vazquez-Rana's background through their Mexico City bureaus.

They said the search convinced them "there is no mystery as to where he got his wealth."