It sounds too good to be true. Stewart Bainum, the hotel magnate (why are they always magnates?) who is leading the transition of The Baltimore Sun and its sister papers to nonprofit ownership, may make a bid to buy all of Tribune Publishing, according to The New York Times.
As you may recall, the hedge fund Alden Global Capital has a deal to buy Tribune, a move that would almost certainly lead to the gutting of the Chicago Tribune and the rest of the chain’s already-diminished newspapers, including, semi-locally, the Hartford Courant. As part of that deal, Alden would spin off the Sun to a nonprofit.
According to the Times’ Marc Tracy, though, Bainum and Alden have been unable to come to an agreement on the details of that transition — and Bainum may now put together a group of investors who would buy the entire chain. Tracy writes:
If Mr. Bainum manages to reach an agreement to buy Tribune, he would be likely to seek local owners for its other newspapers, which also include The Hartford Courant, The Orlando Sentinel and The South Florida Sun Sentinel, the people said.
“The people” is a reference to Tracy’s unnamed sources.
Who knows what will happen? But this is well worth keeping an eye on, as it could lead to a renaissance for some of our most important newspapers — just as it appeared that they were being led to the slaughterhouse.