Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

A couple weeks ago the news was that hedge fund Alden Media Group “was closing in for the kill” on Tribune Publishing. Now others have entered the fray.

From The New York Times via The Baltimore Sun:

An octogenarian Swiss billionaire who makes his home in Wyoming and has donated hundreds of millions to environmental causes is a surprise new player in the bidding for Tribune Publishing, owner of The Baltimore Sun. The newspaper chain until recently seemed destined to end up in the hands of a New York hedge fund.

Hansjörg Wyss (pronounced Hans-yorg Vees), the former CEO of medical device manufacturer Synthes, said in an interview Friday that he had agreed to join with Maryland hotelier Stewart W. Bainum Jr. in a bid for Tribune Publishing. The two will be racing against the clock to raise the funds needed for an offer strong enough to upend Alden Global Capital’s plan to take full ownership of the company.

© Grimmy Inc.

An earlier Baltimore Sun article reported on Bainum’s efforts:

A Maryland businessman has offered $650 million to purchase all of Tribune Publishing Co., the parent of The Baltimore Sun, but the Chicago-based newspaper company’s board endorsed a $630 million offer from Alden Global Capital.

Even as Tribune Publishing’s board of directors recommended shareholders approve Alden’s deal to buy the company for $17.25 a share, it gave Stewart Bainum Jr. the green light to pursue financing for his bid of $18.50 a share.

This has led Bainum to unite in common cause with Wyss.

© Baldo Partnership

Market Watch has more breakdowns:

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that a billionaire who lives in Wyoming, Hansjörg Wyss, was joining a bid for Tribune with Maryland hotel mogul Stewart Bainum. The Times reported that both would commit up to $100 million to the $650 million bid. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Mason Slaine, a Tribune investor who has previously said he wanted to buy the Tribune’s Florida papers, is also willing to commit $100 million in financing. In an email, Slaine confirmed his interest in joining the bid and owning the papers but said it depended on “diligence and terms.”

Alden, which owns one of the country’s largest newspaper chains including the Boston Herald, the Denver Post and the San Jose Mercury News, became Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder in 2019 and now holds a 32% stake.

© Brian Crane

So the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Times may decide where the type falls.
From the New York Post:

As the battle to buy New York Daily News publisher Tribune Publishing heats up, the pressure is expected to mount for Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the billionaire owner of the LA Times who holds the key to any sale thanks to his 24-percent stake in the Chicago company.

A spokeswoman for Soon-Shiong on Thursday said he had no comment on the latest battle for control of Tribune, which gets more heated by the day.

There is no doubt who the journalists are pulling for:

… That’s why the impending takeover of Tribune Publishing, the [Orlando] Sentinel’s parent company, by the notorious hedge fund Alden Global Capital feels like an existential moment for our newspaper’s future.

Alden’s history with newspaper ownership is akin to a biblical plague of locusts — it devours newsroom resources to maximize profits, leaving ruin in its wake.

But more on that shortly.

Because we’re feeling more hopeful that the Sentinel and Tribune Publishing might be rescued from a future under Alden’s thumb.

Wealthy potential investors, who appear to appreciate more than just the financial value of newspapers, have taken an interest in Tribune and may join forces to make a counter-offer to Alden.

© EC Publications