Alden Global Capital has a big piece of Tribune Publishing, but it wants it all.
Alden made a nonbinding proposal to shareholders for $14.25 per share for the remaining stake. It currently owns 32% of the company, which counts Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant and The Baltimore Sun among its newspapers.
The deal, made Dec. 14, is valued at $520 million and requires approval by the board and shareholders.
“We are confident that we can move forward with negotiating definitive documentation for the Transaction immediately, with the goal of entering into a binding material definitive agreement within two to three weeks, which we believe would maximize value, speed and certainty for Tribune’s other stockholders,” Alden said in its regulatory filing.
Known for slashing newspapers to the bone and cutting staff, Alden already owns 200 publications via its MediaNews Group, including The Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News. The company, doing business as MNG Enterprises, tried to buy Gannett in 2019, but was rebuffed. Gatehouse Media has since acquired a 7.5% stake in Gannett.
Alden secured its 32% stake in Tribune Publishing in November 2019, buying former nonexecutive chairman Michael Ferro’s holdings for $145.4 million, bringing its total shares in Tribune to 11.5 million. By February, MNG Enterprises has begun cutting executives at Tribune.
That same month, Chicago Tribune writers David Jackson and Gary Marx published an op-ed in The New York Times calling for a new owner for the paper.
They wrote: “Alden’s strategy of acquiring struggling local newsrooms and stripping them of assets has built the personal wealth of the hedge-fund’s investors. But Alden has imposed draconian staff cuts that decimated The Denver Post and other once-proud newspapers that have been vital to their communities and to American democracy.”
Tribune Publishing made no public comment on the offer as of Thursday morning.