A Maryland hotel magnate and a Swiss billionaire have made a bid for Tribune TPCO 0.22% Publishing Co. that the newspaper chain is expected to favor over a takeover deal it already struck with hedge fund Alden Global Capital. A special committee of Tribune’s board has determined that a roughly $680 million, $18.50-a-share bid submitted late last week by Choice Hotels International Chairman Stewart Bainum and Hansjörg Wyss is reasonably likely to lead to a proposal that is superior to Alden’s $635 million deal, people familiar with the matter said. That is legal deal-speak indicating Alden may need to raise its bid or risk losing the deal.
The philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss has teamed with the Maryland hotel executive Stewart Bainum in a bid to upend Alden Global Capital’s plan to acquire the newspaper chain.
Stewart W. Bainum Jr., a hotel magnate, made an $18.50 per share offer for the whole company, while Alden Global Capital had offered $17.25 per share.
Margaret Sullivan: “When Alden Global Capital announced Tuesday that it was positioned to buy the Chicago Tribune and several other major newspapers, its statement might have sounded promising. But only if you knew nothing about how this hedge fund has sucked much of the life out of the newspapers it already owns in places like Denver and San Jose.”
Journalists at newspapers across the United States were despondent Tuesday when they learned their parent company would be sold to Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund notorious for gutting newsrooms. But at their sister paper, the Baltimore Sun, people were celebrating an apparent reprieve. The Sun was not bound for the hedge-fund chopping block like several other papers owned by Tribune Publishing. Instead, a Maryland business executive and philanthropist plans to buy Baltimore’s nearly 184-year-old newspaper and preserve it as a nonprofit.
Hedge fund Alden Global Capital will acquire Tribune Publishing, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, in a deal worth $630 million. The companies announced on Tuesday that Alden will acquire all of the outstanding shares in Tribune that Alden doesn’t currently own for $17.25 per share in cash.
The hedge fund, which already owns a big stake in Tribune Publishing, could disclose an offer for the newspaper chain as soon as today, according to people familiar with the matter.
Heath Freeman is the hedge fund guy who says he wants to save local news. Somehow, no one’s buying it.
Alden Global Capital’s strategy: Buy newspapers, slash jobs, sell the buildings. Now it’s bidding to buy Gannett, operator of the nation’s largest chain of daily newspapers by circulation, including USA Today — as well as its $900 million in remaining property and equipment — for more than $1.3 billion.
Newspaper company and online innovator Journal Register Co. was sold to hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.