Already the single biggest shareholder in Tribune Publishing, hedge fund company Alden Global Capital intends to purchase the company outright, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Alden has a 32% stake in Tribune Publishing and could make an offer to buy the rest of the company as soon as Thursday, according to WSJ. Tribune’s current total value is $470 million.
Alden bought 25% of Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News among other papers, in August 2019 for $13 per share, in a deal with from Merrick Ventures and Michael W. Ferro. Ferro arranged the transaction with Alden after being forced to step down as head of Tribune, formerly known as Tronc, following credible accusations of sexual harassment. Alden has since enlarged its share of the company.
But Alden has long been criticized and even protested by the publications it has purchased over its tendency to enact harsh cost-cutting tactics that have been compared to stripping papers for parts. In May 2018, members of the Denver Newspaper Guild picketed outside the Denver Post production facility after Alden announced dozens of layoffs to the paper and blocked the publication of editorials. And in 2019, the San Jose Mercury News Guild staged its own protest against Alden, accusing the company of siphoning away profits and assets from its newspapers to fund ventures unrelated to journalism.
Headquartered in Chicago, Tribune Publishing operates local media businesses including the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, Virginia’s Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot, The Morning Call of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and the Hartford Courant.
Alden’s MediaNewsGroup owns the Denver Post, the San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune, and a slew of other daily newspapers and weeklies, mostly in California.