Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for cutting journalists in local newspapers to maximize profits, po blen the rest of Tribune Publishing, the Chicago Tribune parent company, the New York Daily News and other local newspapers.
News direction: With the sale, both companies also announced The Baltimore Sun. would be appropriated by a nonprofit organization backed by a Maryland-based hotel billionaire.
Why it matters: The deal creates one of the largest publishing giants in America. Alden already owns hundreds of shares through most of its ownership of MNG (MediaNews Group) Enterprises, commonly known as Digital First Media, which controls papers like the Denver Post and the Boston Herald.
Details: The deal gives Alden 68% of the shares he does not already own in the Tribune for approximately $ 431 million, for Chicago Tribune estimating the full company at $ 630 million.
- The share price from the merger has risen slightly since the two companies began negotiations last year, with interest in potential acquisitions giving it an incentive.
- As part of the deal, Alden agreed to sell the Baltimore Sun, The Capital Gazette in Annapolis and several other smaller newspapers to a nonprofit called the Sunlight Institute, a public charity formed by Stewart Bainum Jr., a former Maryland politician and hotel mogul.
By: Given Alden’s history, a acquisition is expected to lead to a restructuring that could result in the disruption of more local news sites.
- The Tribune editorial staff has prepared training for the moment. The acquisitions were offered to Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel reporters in early January last year, following Alden’s increase in Tribune shares in 2019, as Axios reported.
Be smart: Full acceptance has long been coming.
- Alden initially acquired a 25% stake in Tribune at the end of 2019 by the largest shareholder of Tribune Michael Ferro in 2019. Later revealed a larger share, 32%.
- She has made her mark on the Tribune in recent months, negotiated for a third country on board seven persons of the Tribune.
- Negotiations for that board seat would mean that Alden had to extend an agreement that prevented the hedge fund from increasing its stake in the company, unless it had interest from an outside bidder, until 2021.
- The Tribune has sought to oust property, mostly real estate, to survive the pandemic-driven financial wind.
Great view: The takeover of the Tribune is the latest example of a historic news company being snatched from a hedge fund amid a bleak time for local news.
- Tribune rival McClatchy, the home of newspapers like the Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, was bought by a hedge fund last year as a result of a bankruptcy auction.
- An published study in 2018 by the University of North Carolina found that newspaper sales, closures and mergers through the seven largest owners of paper investments have increased over the past five years. As Axios has previously noted, hedge funds or private equity groups based in large cities are typically responsible for acquisitions.
- Alden tried to buy local media company Gannett in 2019 but failed, leaving the parent company at USA Today to join rival newspaper giant Gatehouse.
What to look for: The deal, which still requires shareholder approval, is expected to close in Q2 this year. One of the largest shareholders of Tribune, who has said little publicly about the takeover bid is Patrick Soon-Shiong, who bought Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune by Tribune in 2018 for $ 500 million.
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