The Tribune Co. already has at least one potential buyer interested in its newspapers.
Aaron Kushner, CEO of the 2100 Trust, said Thursday his company may want to acquire some or all of Tribune’s newspapers, including
the flagship Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and Hartford Courant.
This would be the biggest newspaper deal yet for Kushner, who previously led 2100’s acquisition of Freedom Communications, publisher of the Orange County Register. He also tried unsuccessfully to acquire The Boston Globe from the New York Times Co.
However, the entrepreneur and former greeting card company executive seemed confident that the investors backing 2100 have both the money and desire for more major acquisitions. Kushner told the
Associated Press: “We clearly have the means and the team by which to look seriously at the Tribune papers.”
Kushner would face some serious competition, at least for some of the Tribune properties. News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch has expressed interest in buying the Los Angeles Times, and Berkshire Hathaway boss Warren Buffett said he would be interested in The Morning Call of Allentown, PA.
The Tribune Co. is cutting costs at its newspapers, perhaps to make them more attractive to potential bidders. Earlier this week, the company revealed that all of its newspapers, except the Los Angeles Times, will be dropping their contracts with the AP in early January.
Tribune is currently scheduled to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of this year, following four years of legal wrangling between creditors, lenders and bondholders over control of the company. It has already secured permission from the FCC to transfer its TV and radio licenses to creditors, including JPMorgan Chase, Oaktree Capital Management and Angelo, Gordon.