Tribune Publishing to Assessment Alden’s Buyout Supply

Tribune publishes 9 papers, together with the New York Each day Information.

Picture: Spencer Platt/Getty Pictures

Tribune Publishing Co. TPCO 7.11% stated it appointed a particular committee to assessment a buyout bid proposed by its largest shareholder, New York hedge fund Alden International Capital LLC.

Alden, which already owns a 32% stake, stated Thursday it was fascinated with buying the remainder of the publishing firm for $14.25 a share, valuing Tribune at $521 million. The Wall Avenue Journal first reported Alden’s plans late Wednesday. The provide drove Tribune’s fill up 7.1% on Thursday to $13.70.

Tribune, which publishes 9 papers, together with the Chicago Tribune, the New York Each day Information and the Baltimore Solar, stated it had named three unbiased members of its board to the particular committee to discover Alden’s provide, and had engaged Lazard LAZ 0.62% as its monetary adviser and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP as its authorized counsel.

“No assurance could be provided that Alden’s proposal, or another transaction, shall be consummated,” Tribune stated in a press release Thursday night.

Alden additionally controls MediaNews Group, a personal firm that owns some 60 every day newspapers across the nation, together with the Denver Submit, San Jose Mercury Information and Orange County Register. The hedge fund has a status for making deep value cuts at titles it acquires.

A deal would have far-reaching implications for an trade beset by sharp declines in income over the previous 20 years which have led to a wave of consolidation and price cuts. Between 2008 and 2019, the trade shed 51% of its newsroom jobs, in response to the Pew Analysis Middle.

A transaction is difficult by a standstill settlement Alden had signed firstly of 2020 in change for a 3rd seat out of seven on Tribune’s board. The settlement expires after June of this 12 months, so any deal to extend the stake would want a signoff from the board and the help of two-thirds of the corporate’s shareholders.

The publishing firm’s second-largest shareholder, with about 25%, is Patrick Quickly-Shiong, a billionaire biotech investor who in 2018 purchased the Los Angeles Occasions from Tribune for $500 million. He declined to touch upon Alden’s provide.

Tribune’s third-largest shareholder, Florida investor Mason Slaine, who owns about 8% of the corporate, stated he discovered the bid to be “unattractive at that value” because it represented lower than 3 times the enterprise’ annual money stream. “I would want to see extra, however I imagine it’s most likely simply a gap gambit,” he stated in an interview.

Media analyst Doug Arthur of Huber Analysis Companions LLC stated in a observe that the provide was “considerably too low” based mostly on the corporate’s earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation and amortization. He stated a value vary of between $16 and $17 a share was extra on course.

In a submitting with the Securities and Alternate Fee, Alden co-founder Randall Smith stated the hedge fund had been involved with an out of doors investor who was fascinated with sure Tribune properties, and Alden requested the board’s permission to discover a joint transaction with him.

The investor, Stewart Bainum Jr., a former Maryland politician and chairman of Selection Accommodations Worldwide Inc., operator of resort chains resembling Consolation Inn and Econo Lodge, didn’t reply to a message in search of remark.

Write to Lukas I. Alpert at lukas.alpert@wsj.com

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Appeared within the January 2, 2021, print version as ‘Tribune Publishing To Assessment Buyout Supply.’

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