Tribune Publishing posts 1Q profit, cancels earnings call as buyout looms
New York Daily News unionizes ahead of Alden takeover vote
Journalists pray for miracle to stave off Tribune takeover by Alden
Time running out for Stewart
Bainum’s bid as Tribune sets May 21 vote
Hotel exec seeks new financing for Tribune after partner drops bid
Tribune Publishing posted a first-quarter profit but canceled its earnings call, citing the imminent completion of a deal to take the newspaper giant private.
The publisher of nine dailies — including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun — and the special committee to evaluate the takeover have recommended shareholders approve Alden Global Capital’s $631 million buyout offer in a vote set for May 21, even as journalists across the company have loudly opposed the pending deal.
Tribune journalists have expressed opposition to a takeover by Alden, notorious for deep cuts at other newspapers it controls from the Denver Post to the Boston Herald. Some staffers have even staged demonstrations in Baltimore and other cities.
Hotel mogul Stewart Bainum has been trying to counter Alden’s offer with a $680 million bid to buy the whole company, which he would then split up and sell to local buyers. But Bainum’s bid has been flailing in part because nobody has stepped up with a bid to buy the flagship Chicago Tribune, which like the Daily News in New York has big pension liabilities.
The Chicago Tribune itself reported last week that an investor group headed by Jeremy Halbreich, one-time CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times, is scouting for other Windy City investors to join him in a bid for the paper.
Sources tell Media Ink, however, that Halbreich has not yet reached out to join the Bainum bid, suggesting backers have been hard to find.
Halbreich — current chairman of AIM Media, owner of the Dallas Morning News — had attempted to put together his own buyout group to buy Tribune last year, but his price was deemed too low at that time. Initially, his group’s $15 a share topped Alden’s original offer of $14.25 a share. But Alden upped the price to its current $17.25-a-share offer.
Bainum is trying to raise money for an $18-a-share offer.
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