Pags Looking for the Hometown Trifecta?

Bain Capital’s Steve Pagliuca has emerged as a potential bidder for The Boston Globe, which is being shopped by The New York Times Co.

peHUB has learned that Bain Capital itself is not involved, as Pagliuca is said to view the opportunity more as a civic rescue than as a profit-driven investment.

“A lot of folks [in Boston] want to see the Globe saved, because of what it means to the community,” says a source familiar with the situation. “But this is not the type of deal that would work within a private equity model… the financial objectives probably would only be to return the paper to cash-flow breakeven.”

News of Pagliuca’s interest was first reported by the Globe’s website, which also identified advertising executive Jack Connors and former Globe executive Stephen Taylor as likely suitors (we hear Taylor’s interest and ability to actually buy the paper are overstated).

Our source indicates that all of this is still in the early stages, and that fully-formed groups do not yet exist. It’s unclear if Pagliuca or the others have yet had conversations with the The Boston Newspaper Guild, a union that represents Globe employees.

There is some precedent for Pagliuca making a big personal investment that isn’t primarily designed for return-on-investment. Back in 2002, he and local venture capitalist Wyc Grousbeck led a $360 million purchase of The Boston Celtics. The pair — and their slew of minority limited partners — certainly wanted to return the team to financial glory, but never indicated plans to take the company public and cash out. Instead, they viewed the deal’s success or failure through the prism of the Boston Garden’s rafters, which today is one banner more crowded than when they began.

It’s also worth noting that, through Bain Capital, Pagliuca also holds a piece of Dunkin’ Donuts. If you’re not from Boston, just understand that Dunkin’ has become as much of a local institution as the Celtics or the Globe. And if Pagliuca has his way, he might just own all three.