There is terrible news to report tonight for readers and employees of the Chicago Tribune, New York’s Daily News and the Hartford Courant — but good news in Baltimore.
A deal that had been in the works since late 2020 is close to being consummated, with the hedge fund Alden Global Capital on the verge of becoming the sole owner of Tribune Publishing. As has been documented on numerous occasions here and elsewhere, Alden is the most avaricious of the chain newspaper owners, squeezing the life (and the journalism) out of its properties.
Lukas I. Alpert reports in The Wall Street Journal that Alden is paying an estimated $630 million to bring its share of Tribune from 32% to 100%. Tribune, currently a publicly traded company, will go private.
Last month the News Guild, the union that represents workers at seven of Tribune’s nine papers, filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission charging irregularities in Alden’s bid. No word on whether that challenge is over or if it will continue.
Meanwhile, there’s good news in Baltimore. As part of the transaction, Tribune will sell The Baltimore Sun, The Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland, and several other publications to a nonprofit organization called the Sunlight for All Institute. The sale caps a campaign of many months on the part of community activists.
Joseph Lichterman of the Lenfest Institute, the nonprofit that owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, tweeted:
It’s a ray of sunshine — or a rainbow, if you will — on what is otherwise another dark day for American newspapers.
- The FT offers a close-up look at how Alden is destroying the Hartford Courant (Jan. 28)
- Can the union representing Tribune’s workers stop Alden Global Capital? (Jan. 5)
- Could Patrick Soon-Shiong save Tribune’s newspapers from Alden’s clutches? (Jan. 2)
- Alden Global Capital wants to take another big bite out of Tribune Publishing (Dec. 31, 2020)
- How Alden Global Capital is strangling Connecticut’s Hartford Courant (March 10, 2020)