Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has requested information on Alden Global Capital’s prospective acquisition of Tribune Publishing, owner of the state’s largest newspaper The Hartford Courant.
"I am deeply troubled by the reports that Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund with a history of decimating newspapers across the country, may be poised to take complete control of The Hartford Courant," Tong wrote in a letter to Alden, the AG’s office announced on Saturday.
Tong adds the Courant “has already withstood countless devastating cuts to its staff and operations since Alden acquired a third of Tribune Publishing in 2019.”
Those cuts included shuttering the Courant newsroom, the AG claims.
The New York Times reported on Dec. 31, 2020, that Alden would buy the remaining stake in Tribune Publishing, owner of nine metropolitan papers, including The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News and The Baltimore Sun. The Wall Street Journal reported the offer was worth $520.6 million, per the Times.
Alden acquired 32% of Tribune Publishing in 2019, and its CEO Randall D. Smith is now on the Tribune board.
The hedge fund also owns over half of Digital First Media, a firm that operates The Denver Post, The Boston Herald and numerous other newspapers.
It was not clear at press time what remedies, if any, Tong’s office has to impact the sale.
But Tong says he wants to “assess the potential competitive ramifications of the transaction,” demands that Alden identify: