Gannett deal for Tribune could affect USA Today ties with Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Sun-Times

Monday’s stop-the-presses news that Gannett Co. wants to buy Tribune Publishing isn’t the first foray of the Virginia-based media giant into the Chicago newspaper market.

In addition to distributing its flagship USA Today on newsstands here, Gannett has a comprehensive editorial partnership agreement with the Sun-Times.

USA Today

USA Today

Since March 2015 Gannett has provided at least 10 pages of USA Today-branded editorial content each day in the Sun-Times. The arrangement substantially increased the paper’s coverage of national and international news, business and sports.

The Gannett deal with Sun-Times parent company Wrapports LLC was negotiated under Michael Ferro, then chairman of Wrapports, and Timothy Knight, former CEO of Wrapports. Since last February, Ferro has been chairman of Tribune Publishing.

According to Gannett, Ferro and Tribune Publishing CEO Justin Dearborn have refused to begin formal negations so far on Gannett’s offer. Gannett has offered to pay $12.25 per share, which represents a 63 percent premium to Tribune’s closing stock price or a total of about $815 million, for the company, which includes Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and nine other dailies across the country.

Jim Kirk, editor and publisher of the Sun-Times, declined to comment on how Gannett’s acquisition of Tribune Publishing would alter USA Today’s deal with the Sun-Times.