Alden Global Capital is wasting no time in taking a chainsaw to its newly acquired newspapers. NPR media reporter David Folkenflik tweeted a thread that contains some horrifying details about what the hedge fund has in store for Tribune Publishing:
How about that? A $60 million loan with a 13% interest rate that Alden will pay to itself.
The cuts, by the way, will come on top of massive downsizing that took place in 2020, when Alden was a mere minority shareholder. Tribune’s Chicago Tribune reports:
Last year, Tribune Publishing employment fell by 30%, dropping from 4,114 employees at the end of 2019 to 2,865 employees at the end of 2020, according to the company’s annual reports. The company had a total of 896 newsroom employees across its eight markets entering this year.
Finally, the New York Post’s Keith Kelly writes that Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, who was in a better position than anyone to stop the sale of Tribune to Alden, is “taking a lot of heat” for not voting against it — or at least for not abstaining in a way that would have stopped the deal.
Kelly quotes an unnamed source who calls Soon-Shiong “second most despised man in newspapers today behind Heath Freeman,” Alden’s president. Nice quote. I wonder who said it?