Tronc, the former Tribune Publishing Co. headed by tech entrepreneur Michael Ferro, could operate the Sun-Times separately “keeping in place the independent newsroom” under the proposal. Ferro previously headed Wrapports.
Terms of the offer were not disclosed.
“Wrapports, which has owned the Sun-Times since 2012, agreed to enter into discussions with tronc after seeking alternative arrangements with other media companies both locally and outside of Chicago,” the announcement said.
“After those efforts were exhausted, it became clear that a business combination with tronc made the most sense, especially since tronc and Wrapports already have some business ties.” Under a long-term agreement, tronc prints and distributes the Sun-Times.
More to come.
Here is the text of the statement from Wrapports:
CHICAGO-On May 16, the Chicago Sun-Times plans to publish a full-page advertisement seeking new ownership that will commit to preserving the Sun-Times as an independent news source in the city of Chicago.
The Chicago Sun-Times also received a non-binding Letter of Intent from tronc, Inc., which operates the Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers around the country, to purchase assets from Sun-Times parent, Wrapports, LLC. If completed, tronc would own and operate the Sun-Times as a separate unit, keeping in place the independent newsroom.
Wrapports, which has owned the Sun-Times since 2012, agreed to enter into discussions with tronc after seeking alternative arrangements with other media companies both locally and outside of Chicago. After those efforts were exhausted, it became clear that a business combination with tronc made the most sense, especially since tronc and Wrapports already have some business ties. For example, the Chicago Tribune has handled all of the Sun-Times’ printing and distribution for the past several years. A combination of the companies helps keep the Sun-Times active as a separate voice.
“The investors and board members of Wrapports have been committed to keeping a strong media voice in Chicago alive. In a city like ours with multiple choices for news, success requires a national platform that can make significant digital investments across products and services. We believe an ownership that can bring substantial digital resources is necessary and is the best path for the Sun-Times long term.” said John Canning, Chairman of Wrapports, LLC.
“We look forward to operating the Sun-Times as a separate news unit, which means an independent Sun-Times will continue to produce the award winning journalism readers are accustomed to seeing online and print daily. The Chicago Sun-Times is an integral part of the fabric of the city and this path is an opportunity for the Sun-Times to thrive.” said Jim Kirk, Publisher and Editor In Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Shortly after entering into discussions, Wrapports and tronc voluntarily informed the U. S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division about the possibility of a transaction and have been working closely with officials to insure a potential combination protects the public interests.
The Antitrust Division requested that an advertisement to announce the Sun-Times and other Wrapports’ assets were for sale. This allows other potential bidders who were not previously contacted to come forward in the event there was interest. Any potential buyer would have 15 days to discuss a possible combination. If no viable partner emerges, tronc and Wrapports intend to continue pursuing a deal to successfully close the transaction.