A large newspaper publisher is one step away from being created in the United States, following the acquisition of the Tribune Publishing by Alden Global Capital. The deal was announced on 16 February 2021 after the stock market closed, and was estimated at US$ 630m.
Tribune Publishing owns many major newspapers in America such as The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun; the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant; the Orlando (Florida) Sentinel; the South Florida Sun Sentinel; New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia; and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia.
Alden Global Capital is a hedge fund with a history of deep cost-cutting at its newspaper properties. It is already Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder with a 31.6% stake. Alden is offering US$ 17.25 a share for acquiring the total control of the company. That means a total of about US$ 431m for the 68% of shares it doesn’t already own.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year. It still requires the approval of two-thirds of shareholders not affiliated with Alden and must pass regulatory scrutiny.
The deal would be closed after obtaining the votes of California biotech billionaire and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong who owns about 24% of Tribune Publishing, and shareholder Mason Slaine, a former media executive who owns about 8%.
As part of the deal, Alden signed a non-binding agreement to sell The Baltimore Sun to Sunlight for All Institute, a public charity formed by Stewart Bainum Jr. As part of the acquisition, the nonprofit Sunlight for All Institute would acquire The Baltimore Sun, the Capital Gazette papers in Annapolis, the Carroll County Times and several other Baltimore-area weeklies and magazines, as well as the affiliated online properties.