Tronc, the conglomerate that owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, has acquired all of the outstanding interests of Daily News, LP., owner of the New York Daily News and NYDailyNews.com, the media company announced Monday night.
“We are excited to welcome the New York Daily News team to the tronc family, and we look forward to working with them to serve new audiences and marketers while delivering value for our shareholders,” said Justin Dearborn, tronc CEO, in a statement. “As part of the tronc portfolio, the New York Daily News will provide us with another strategic platform for growing our digital business, expanding our reach and broadening our services for advertisers and marketers.”
No cash changed hands in the deal, but tronc assumed the Daily News’ pension liabilities, which the New York Times estimated to be worth more than $30 million. The transaction also includes full ownership of the Daily News’ printing facility in New Jersey. In addition, tronc will acquire a 49.9 percent interest in a joint venture with Mortimer Zuckerman-related entities that will own the 25-acre parcel of land on which the printing facility is located and which overlooks the Manhattan skyline. Zuckerman, a real estate mogul and rival of Donald Trump, has been the Daily News Chairman and Publisher since 1993.
The deal gives Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, daily papers in the nation’s three biggest urban markets. The company also owns dailies in smaller cities, including the Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun. Last month, tronc shook up management at its largest publication, the Los Angeles Times, laying off four top editors and installing former Yahoo executive Ross Levinsohn and CEO and publisher at a $1 million yearly salary.
Arthur Browne, current editor-in-chief of the Daily News, has also been named as publisher. Browne intended to retire but instead has agreed to stay until the end of 2017. He will report to tronc President Timothy Knight.
Founded in 1919, the Daily News has long been seen as a working-class paper that boasted a circulation of more than 2 million in the 1940s and employed some iconic writers, headlined by Jimmy Breslin. But like many papers, it has suffered huge losses in advertising, circulation and staff in the internet age.
The paper shared a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with ProPublica for a report on widespread police abuse of eviction rules to remove people from their homes.