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This is a twist that Mitt Romney wishes he had thought of at Bain Capital -- where firing people is tons of fun.

A company called Halifax -- owned by Arkansas billionaire Warren Stephens -- recently bought a bunch of small newspapers that were owned by the NY Times. Halifax then started a process to decide which employees at these newspaper would be kept and which would be let go.

Apparently, according to a report at Poynter.org, some employees are being given a choice -- before they can keep their jobs they have to sign an agreement that lets Halifax fire them at will and prevents them from taking a job in any other city with a Halifax property for two years.

Employees at the 16 papers now owned by Halifax Media Group are being asked to sign an agreement that allows the company to fire them anytime but prevents them from working for media companies in any other city with a Halifax property for two years. A tipster said employees have until tomorrow to decide whether to sign or lose their jobs.

It used to be that if a company wanted to part ways with someone and prevent them from competing with them once they left, they had to negotiate a buyout.

And it often involved someone who had inside knowledge of the workings of the company that would be valuable to a competitor.

But Halifax is apparently taking that to a new level. Why shell out money for buyouts when you can just coerce everyone into signing noncompete agreements and then let them go?

Just think of all the extra cash that Romney could have earned for Bain Capital if he had thought of this years ago.

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