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Tribune Publishing Backs Alden Global Buyout, But Gives Bainum OK To Pursue Financing for Higher Bid

Tribune's board has recommended Alden's $17.25 per share bid, but has given the green light to Stewart Bainum Jr. to round up financing for his $18.50 per share bid.

Image source: Tribune Publishing

Tribune Publishing Co (Nasdaq: ), one of the country’s largest newspaper chains, decided to stick with a buyout bid from its largest shareholder Alden Global Capital, despite receiving a higher bid from a Maryland hotel executive.

On Wednesday, The Baltimore Sun reported that Stewart Bainum Jr., chairman of Choice Hotels International Inc (NYSE: CHH ), had bid $650 million for the publishing company, which owns newspapers including the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune. 

The newspaper company’s board had previously endorsed Alden’s $630 million offer and recommended that shareholders approve the New York-based hedge fund’s deal to buy Tribune for $17.25 per share and take the company private. 

The board did give Bainum the green light to pursue financing for his bid of $18.50 per share, The Sun reported.

Initially, Alden agreed to sell Baltimore Sun Media for $65 million to Sunlight for All Institute, a non-profit led by Bainum. He has said he planned to run the Baltimore group’s daily and weekly newspapers “for the benefit of the community.”

After negotiations hit a snag, however, Bainum made his bid for the whole company, The Associated Press reported. 

The News Guild, a union that represents newsroom employees at most Tribune-owned publications, including The Orlando Sentinel, The Hartford Courant and Sun Sentinel, cheered the move by Bainum.

Jon Schleuss, president of the News Guild Communication Workers of America, told The New York Post, “Right now, Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund with a track record of destroying newsrooms, is trying to take over the company and that would be devastating for the workers, the publications and the communities they serve.” 

Alden already controls MediaNews Group, a large newspaper chain that owns dozens of publications including the Boston Herald and the Denver Post, and has a well-documented reputation for making drastic cuts at newspapers it acquires. 

After Alden became Tribune Publishing’s largest shareholder in November 2019, with a 31.6% stake and three seats on the company’s seven-member board, employees at Tribune-owned newspapers began worrying about the potential for a takeover.


Source: Equities News