Potential Sun-Times sale to Tronc delayed as other offers are explored

on May31

31 May 2017 | 12:33 pm

A potential deal to sell the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader and other media properties to Tronc Inc., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, is set to be delayed for five days to allow others who have expressed an interest buying the newspapers to finalize bids, Jim Kirk, the Sun-Times’ publisher and editor in chief, said in an email to staff Wednesday.

At the request of U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, which investigates newspaper mergers, the Sun-Times ran an advertisement on May 16 announcing the Sun-Times and the other properties in the Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports, are for sale.

The ad also announced that the paper had a letter of intent from Tronc to buy Wrapports — and that Wrapports was opening up a bidding process for 15 days for other potential buyers to come forward at the Justice Department’s request.

“While there has been interest by some, the DOJ has asked us to extend the process only to those prospective bidders who have already expressed interest in the Sun-Times,” Kirk said in Wednesday’s email to staff. “Those bidders will be given until 5 p.m., June 5th, to provide an initial offer. This does not change the time frame for the remainder of the process.”

RELATED: Sun-Times on the selling block — and Tribune owner wants to buy it

Reached Wednesday morning, Kirk declined further comment about other possible bidders for the Sun-Times or other Wrapports properties.

Both Wrapports and Tronc have said that if a Wrapports-Tronc deal goes through, Chicago would remain a two-newspaper town. Tronc would own and operate the Sun-Times as a separate entity. The two companies are already closely linked as the Sun-Times pays Tronc, short for Tribune Online Content, to print and distribute its print editions.

“We appreciate the focus and dedication of all of our employees and we will keep you updated as much as we can throughout the remainder of the process,” Kirk wrote in the staff email.

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