Alden Global wants to buy Tribune Publishing

A hedge fund that has a large stake in it

Tribune Publishing Co.

TPCO 0.31%

the newspaper chain behind titles like the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News is looking to buy, according to people familiar with the matter.

Alden Global Capital LLC, already the largest shareholder in Tribune with a 32% stake, could publish an offer for the company as early as Thursday. Details of the possible bid could not be found.

Tribune has a market value of around $ 470 million after years of decline as the outlook for local newspapers fades. Its stocks have barely changed this year, closing at $ 12.79 on Wednesday.

A deal would have far-reaching implications for an industry that has experienced sharp sales declines over the past 20 years that have resulted in a decline in sales Wave of consolidation and cost reductions. According to the Pew Research Center, the industry cut 51% of its newsroom jobs between 2008 and 2019.

Tribune Publishing, one of the largest newspaper chains in the country, publishes nine larger market daily newspapers, including Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant.

Alden controls the MediaNews Group, a privately held company that owns approximately 60 daily newspapers nationwide, including the Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News, and the Orange County Register. The hedge fund has a reputation for making significant cost reductions on stocks it buys.

In July, Alden cemented a firmer position control of a third of seven seats on the Tribune Board in exchange for an agreement to extend a standstill that prevents the hedge fund from increasing its stake or making a hostile bid until after June 2021.

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As a result, a deal to increase the stake would likely need to be approved by the Tribune or a significant portion of Alden’s unaffiliated shareholders. The company’s second largest shareholder is Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire biotech investor who bought the Los Angeles Times for $ 500 million from Tribune in 2018.

As the industry has been hit by the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, Tribune laid off dozens of reporters and closed many of its newsrooms entirely to save real estate costs. In early December, Tribune agreed to sell its e-commerce business to Best Reviews

Nexstar Media Group Inc.

for $ 160 million.

Write to Cara Lombardo at [email protected], Dana Cimilluca at [email protected] and Lukas I. Alpert at [email protected]

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Published in the print edition of December 31, 2020 as “Fund is trying to buy the whole chain of stands”.

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