1992 AP Follow on Pat Robertson's Bailout



Here's a follow-up AP story from June 13, 1992, on new offer for UPI after Pat Robertson bailout:


UPI: Another Short-Term Lease on Life

NEW YORK (AP) - A potential buyer put some cash in the sputtering engine of United Press International, allowing it to run through June 22 while he takes a look under the hood and decides whether to keep it.

Leon Charney, an attorney, real estate developer and broadcaster, gave UPI $180,000 on Friday. In return he gets a look at UPI's books and a chance to buy the company.

"I hope we can keep everything together," Charney said after meeting with UPI President Pieter VanBennekom.

VanBennekom said Charney's money kept UPI from closing at midnight, when the money provided by an earlier potential buyer, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, ran out.

UPI is under bankruptcy protection.

Charney said he became interested in buying UPI after a journalist friend telephoned him on Wednesday and told him Robertson had bowed out. "He said, `Why don't you take a look at it?' So I did," Charney said.

The religious broadcaster kept the news service going for the past month by paying its expenses, including salaries for about 500 employees, while deciding whether to buy it for $6 million.

Wednesday he said he didn't think UPI could be made profitable and lowered his bid to buy only the name and rights to two pieces of the business.

UPI rejected Robertson's offer and said it would close at midnight Friday if no new money was found.

Charney said he was the majority investor in a group that includes two Swiss men, Michael Florscheim, president of ENC Trading Co., and Ernst Strauss, an engineer and private investor.

The other investors are New Yorkers: Elliot Lavigne, president of Perry Ellis International; Saul Rudes, an attorney; and Brian Anderson of the investment firm Kidder Peabody.

Charney, 53, was born in Bayonne, N.J. He heads Charney Communications Network, which produces the "Leon Charney Report" for the Public Broadcasting Service.

Charney also was an unofficial adviser to President Carter, and is credited with fostering the Camp David peace talks. He described his role in a book, "Special Counsel."

UPI has lost money for 30 years and is under bankruptcy protection for the second time in a decade. Founded as United Press by E.W. Scripps in 1907, the news service was once the nation's second largest, behind The Associated Press.

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