New York Daily News sold to Chicago Tribune parent Tronc – Marketing/media News

on Sep5

5 September 2017 | 10:00 am

(Bloomberg)—Tronc, owner of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune, agreed to pay $1 and assume pensions and liabilities for the New York Daily News and NYDailyNews.com to expand its digital business and add coverage of the biggest media market in the U.S.

Chicago-based Tronc assumed operational and pension liabilities for the New York Daily News in a deal that includes 100 percent ownership of the New York newspaper’s printing facility in New Jersey, Tronc said in a statement late yesterday. The pensions and liabilities Tronc is accepting under the deal total more than $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because financial terms are confidential.

Acquisition of the almost 100-year-old paper marks the highest-profile media deal for Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro, a former software entrepreneur and investor, since he bought into the company last year through his Merrick Ventures. The newspaper group will now operate in 10 major U.S. markets and have more than 80 million unique monthly digital visitors, it said in the statement.

Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn said acquiring the paper and its popular website would “provide us with another strategic platform for growing our digital business, expanding our reach and broadening our services for advertisers and marketers,” and both Tronc and Daily News executives said the company would maintain the quality of the paper’s journalism.

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Tronc and rivals including Hearst and Gannett are buying more papers to gain economies of scale as a decline in print advertising and relatively small gains in digital ad growth cut valuations for magazine and newspaper brands. Last year in the U.S., 50 daily newspapers changed hands in 28 deals, according to newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm Dirks, Van Essen & Murray. The deals were driven largely by families or small newspaper groups getting out of the business.

The Daily News and ProPublica together won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in public service journalism for uncovering how authorities used an obscure law to evict hundreds of people, mostly poor minorities, from their homes. It was the Daily News’ 11th Pulitzer Prize, and the fifth during Zuckerman’s tenure.

Tronc’s proposal to buy cross-town rival Chicago Sun-Times owner Wrapports, where Ferro formerly owned a stake, was rejected by regulators on concern it would be bad for competition. The newspaper group, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, paid $56 million last year for Freedom Communications, publisher of the Orange County Register.

With the deal, News Editor-in-Chief Arthur Browne was also named publisher, though he plans to retire at the end of the year.

AP contributed.



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