Newsmaker interview: Glen Taylor

Glen Taylor
Minnesota Lynx owner Glen Taylor and his wife Becky Mulvihill watched the action during a game against the Phoenix Mercury in Minneapolis, Minn. Thursday, July 31, 2014.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2014

Billionaire Glen Taylor stepped aside as CEO of North Mankato-based Taylor Corporation earlier this month, but that doesn't mean he's slowed down.

Taylor is the owner of the Timberwolves, Lynx and the Star Tribune, which recently bought alt-weekly City Pages from Village Voice Media. He's also part of a team behind the effort to start a Major League Soccer team in Minnesota.

The team spearheading the soccer effort is facing a July 1 deadline to bring Major League Soccer a plan for a downtown Minneapolis stadium. Attempts to obtain some sort of stadium subsidy or funding were unsuccessful at both the city and Minnesota Legislature.

Taylor told MPR's Tom Weber Monday that the group led by former UnitedHealth Group executive Bill McGuire would likely ask for a deadline extension.

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"The best we can do is ask them to give us a little more time so we can look at either some other alternatives of places to locate the stadium or get some commitments to the future, or just to do more work on it," Taylor said.

Without any subsidies, property taxes at the proposed location near the Minneapolis Farmers Market would cost too much to sustain the franchise, Taylor said.

"We know that getting started is going to be costly," he said. "In the long run we've got to have some way to make this thing so it's at least break even."

Taylor also owns the Star Tribune newspaper, which recently announced the purchase of the alt-weekly City Pages. Taylor said the alt-weekly will still be published as usual, although the Star Tribune management may reconsider accepting ads for sexual businesses in the alt-weekly.

Although the Pioneer Press is for sale as part of the larger Digital First Media, Taylor said he isn't interested unless the paper is for sale by itself. He said he hasn't been contacted by the company about buying the newspaper.

Earlier this month, Taylor announced that his niece Deb Taylor will take over as CEO of Taylor Corp. He said keeping the leadership in the family just makes sense.

"We want to be privately owned," Taylor said. "We a long time ago made the decision that we're setting up a foundation that will control the company, and in this particular case I had the good fortune of having someone within my family that had the interest, desire and ability to do it."

Even though he's no longer CEO at Taylor Corp., Taylor said he'll still be involved as the company expands and acquires other firms, with an eye on technology companies to offset declining potential for earnings in the printing business.