Michael Ferro Sells Largest Tronc Share To 'Chicago Tribune' Family

Michael Ferro, the largest shareholder of Tronc, is selling his stake, ending his involvement in the company.

Ferro is selling his 26% stake in Tronc for over $208 million to McCormick Media, a new ownership group reportedly tied to the family that built the company up from The Chicago Tribune in the early 20th century, according to Robert Feder, who runs an independent column covering local media.

Feder reports that at $23 per share, Ferro’s payout represents a premium of 34% over the current stock price.

Tronc chairman and CEO Justin Dearborn said this was a “private transaction” between Ferro and the buyer, and “does not alter our business strategy or the pending sale of the California News Group,” which includes The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.

Tronc sold the papers to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million and the deal is expected to close soon. Soon-Shiong announced Friday he is moving LAT from its historic building in downtown Los Angeles to the suburban city of El Segundo.



Ferro stepped down as Tronc chairman last month, hours before Fortune published sexual-harassment allegations by two female entrepreneurs against Ferro.

Ferro took control of what was then called Tribune Publishing in February 2016, purchasing a 17% stake in the company. He was previously chairman of Wrapports, former parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Dearborn was appointed CEO of Tribune Publishing that same month. Ferro and Dearborn changed the name of Tribune Publishing to Tronc in June 2016, symbolizing the company's commitment to its digital transformation.

Tronc president Tim Knight announced in March that the company is reorganizing its eight local newsrooms as a deeper push into its digital transition efforts.

Last week, dozens of Los Angeles Times’ employees were laid off, due to a change in the company’s business structure. Former editor-in-chief Lewis D’Vorkin was also let go. 

D’Vorkin was appointed editor of LAT in October of last year, before he was moved to the role of Chief Content Officer of Tribune Interactive. D’Vorkin was temporarily put on unpaid leave after NPR reported he had been a defendant in two sexual -harassment cases before joining Tronc. He was later cleared of wrongdoing.

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