Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and other major regional newspapers, would sell Alden Global Capital for $ 630 million. The investment fund has a reputation for aggressively reducing staff in newsrooms.
Maryland businessman Stewart Bainum had another idea: he initially agreed to buy the Baltimore Sun as part of the deal, but when that plan was thwarted, he made an offer of $ 650 million across the chain.
Bainum, president of Choice Hotels, has pledged to provide 100 million dollars, an amount that two other wealthy investors promise to join. It is unclear, however, whether it will be able to raise enough in time to avoid the Tribune’s deal with Alden.
Bainum joined Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, who told the New York Times that he would invest $ 100 million, and Mason Slaine, a minority shareholder in the Tribune and former chief executive of Thomson Financial.
Slaine told the Wall Street Journal that he would commit to offering the same amount to acquire Orlando Sentinel and Sun-Sentinel in his state of Florida.
In the midst of efforts to find buyers for other Tribune newspapers, a “mysterious” investor for Morning Call has emerged, offering between $ 30 million and $ 40 million for the newspaper, according to the Allentown, Pennsylvania newspaper.
If Banium is successful, it is likely that it will sell some of the newspapers – which include the Hartford Courant and Virginian-Pilot – and that some will become nonprofits.
The result of this purchase could be a turning point for the problematic print media industry, be it for a model with cvic support to expand local news coverage, or for a purely economic model that could lead to further reductions in newsrooms.
Employment in American newsrooms fell by half between 2008 and 2019, according to the Pew Research Center, and further cuts were recorded during the pandemic.
Jon Schleuss, president of NewsGuild, which represents journalists from several newspapers in the Tribune, is also pressing for local support and local buyers with the hope of avoiding further layoffs.
To complicate matters, Alden already has a 31.6% stake in the Tribune, which has an impact on any transaction. Another 24% is owned by Patrick Soon-Shiong, a biotech billionaire who bought the Los Angeles Times from Tribune Publishing in 2018.
THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY
CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL
Get the latest news delivered to your inbox
Follow us on social media networks