Tribune Board Approves $630 Million Alden Bid, But Allows Bainum To Pursue Counter Offer

The board of Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago TribuneNew York Daily News and numerous other news dailies, has signaled its approval of the $630 million purchase offer tendered by Alden Global Capital last month. 

Staffers, worried about Alden’s reputation for making massive cuts, had one flicker of hope: The board also said Stewart Bainum, the chairman of Maryland-based Choice Hotels International, could pursue financing to make a higher bid, the Chicago Tribune reports, based on a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. 

Baiman’s nonprofit group had signed a non-binding agreement to purchase one of Tribune Publishing’s newspapers, The Baltimore Sun, for $65 million at the time of the Alden purchase announcement last month, but that deal fell through. Baiman has pledged $100 million and says he can raise the rest to finance the offer of $18.50 per share he made on March 16.



Alden’s offer was for $17.25 per share. But it owns 31.6% of the stock, a formidable voting power. 

Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns the Los Angeles Times and roughly 24% of Tribune Publishing, would also have to approve the deal, as would regulators. Soon-Shiong and his wife, Michele, had acquired the LA Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune for $500 million from Tribune Publishing, the LAT writes. 

A three-member special committee of the Tribune Publishing board, which has been vetting the Alden offer, agreed Friday to “grant a waiver of certain restrictions” to allow Bainum to pursue financing for the larger bid, the Tribune reports based on the SEC the filing.

Tribune Publishing CEO Terry Jimenez was the sole dissenting vote on the board, the Tribune reports, sourcing the SEC filing.

An article in the Chicago Tribune in February described Alden as “a hedge fund with a history of deep cost-cutting at its other newspaper properties.”’

In another development regarding hard-pressed news dailies, the Los Angeles Times has received a $10 million Paycheck Protection (PPP) loan, the LAT reports. The paper, suffering from “a dramatic plunge in advertising revenue, will use the money to cover salaries and other employee-related costs. The newspaper applied for the maximum sum allowable.

Earlier this month, Plain Dealer Publishing Co., the printer and distributor of The Plain Dealer, of Cleveland, received a $3.8 million PPP loan that it said will help it pay employees and recover from the impact of the pandemic, according to, the digital edition of the Plain Dealer.  

In addition to the papers already cited, Tribune Publishing owns the Hartford Courant, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia, and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia. 

Next story loading loading..