Tribune signals a preference for a sale to a New York hedge fund.
Tribune Publishing announced Monday that talks about the sale to Newslight, a company founded last month by hotel manager Stewart W. Bainum Jr. in Maryland and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, had ended after Mr Wyss split had withdrawn from a planned offer Friday.
Tribune Publishing’s special panel that evaluates bids said in a press release on Monday that the Newslight plan could no longer “reasonably” result in a “superior proposal” than the binding agreement the company made with Alden Global Capital in February had a New York hedge fund. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the agreement was non-binding.)
Mr. Bainum and Mr. Wyss were blown up last month with a $ 18.50 per Tribune share proposal, beating Alden’s offer of $ 17.25 per share.
The road to a deal with Mr. Bainum, CEO of Choice Hotels, one of the world’s largest hotel chains, is not completely blocked.
In a letter on Saturday, Mr Bainum briefed the Tribune Board of Mr Wyss’ exit from a potential business, adding that after reviewing the company’s finances and discussing a possible arrangement with other potential donors, he is continuing a proposal at a price of Felt committed to $ 18.50 per share.
“I remain confident that there is significant interest in joining this effort and expect the necessary arrangements between one or more additional equity funding sources to be swiftly completed,” Bainum wrote in the letter. He declined to comment on this article.
The Tribune Special Committee said in its statement on Monday that it would “consider carefully any further developments to determine the course of action that is in the best interests of Tribune and its shareholders, subject to the provisions of the Alden Merger Agreement”.
The committee added that, following an earlier recommendation, its board of directors would advise the company’s shareholders to vote for the Alden deal.
Tribune, publisher of The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Daily News and other newspapers in major cities across the country, has been the target of Alden, its largest shareholder, since last year.
As Alden is known for cutting costs on the 60 or so daily newspapers it controls through its subsidiary MediaNews Group, journalists from Tribune Publications welcomed the surprising entry of Mr Bainum and Mr Wyss into the tender. Alden has said that it allows newspapers that might otherwise find themselves in a tough line of business to stay in business.
Tribune shareholders are expected to vote on a buyer this summer after the board officially approves an offer.