Alden Global Bids for Control of Tribune


In August, when most newspaper workers had been working remotely for months, Tribune announced that The Daily News’ physical newsroom will be permanently closed. That announcement was quickly followed by the closure of The Morning Call newsrooms in Allentown, Pennsylvania; The Orlando Sentinel; The Carroll County Times in Westminster, Md .; and The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. In December, the newsroom of another Tribune daily newspaper, The Hartford Courant, which has been operating since 1764, went dark.

In the proposal letter to the Tribune Board, Mr. Smith von Alden said that his company had held discussions with Stewart Bainum Jr., a chief executive and former Maryland politician, to gauge his “interest in certain Tribune assets.” Tribune’s Maryland publications include The Sun, The Capital Gazette, and The Carroll County Times of Westminster.

Mason Slaine, a former managing director of Thomson Financial, who owns around 7 percent of the Tribune shares, has publicly proposed to Tribune that individual newspapers be sold to interested buyers. Mr. Slaine, who has a home in Boca Raton, Florida, has expressed an interest in purchasing a grandstand newspaper, The Sun Sentinel of South Florida.

Revenue for the local news industry has declined over the past 15 years as readers increasingly preferred to get the news on screens rather than in print newspapers. Alden and other hedge funds have nonetheless managed to generate profits from newspaper chains through strict management practices, and the financial sector has sparked a wave of consolidation in the news media business.

In 2019, Gannett, the editor of USA Today, was acquired by New Media Investment Group, the parent company of GateHouse Media, to create a giant (gannett) that publishes roughly one in five daily newspapers in the country. The oversized version of Gannett was created thanks to nearly $ 2 billion in funding from Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm.

In 2020, the last of the big family-owned chains, McClatchy, emerged from bankruptcy as the property of Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey hedge fund. Chatham also has a controlling interest in Postmedia, one of Canada’s largest newspaper publishers. Since taking over the Canadian media company, 1,600 employees have been laid off and more than 30 publications have been discontinued.