July 12, 2017 Last Updated 4:44 pm

Investor group to acquire Chicago Sun-Times

Tronc once again loses out on acquiring a complimentary newspaper in a market it dominates, but the company already owns the contract to print Chicago’s tabloid

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that an investment group led by former Chicago Alderman Edwin Eisendrath looks to be the new owner of the tabloid. If true, it would mean that Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing), the publisher of the dominant market paper, the Chicago Tribune, was edged out.

The sales price is said to be only $1, though to complete the deal the group had to raised more than $11.2 million in operating funds.

“A great group has come together and make sure that a genuine voice with honest and good reporting that connects with working men and women thrives,” Eisendrath told the Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times was founded in 1844 as the Chicago Daily Journal, making it the oldest continuously published paper in town. It has a long and prestigious history, and some locals can remember its heyday. But the paper was sold off by the Marshall Field family to Rupert Murdoch in 1984, and that began a parade of owners.

The investor group appeared after the Department of Justice required the owners of the Sun-Times, Wrapports, to seek an outside buyer before they would accept a takeover by the owner of the Tribune To the surprise of many one actually appeared, and ready to pay something for the right to takeover they money losing paper.

Along with the investors, a coalition of labor unions are also involved, obviously interested in saving jobs. As for the motivation of the former alderman, it would appear to be influence (though other political players have found owning a newspaper to be less influential than they assumed).

As for Tronc, losing this deal won’t be too upsetting. The company holds the contract to print and distribute the Sun-Times, and winning the paper likely would mean having to close it at some point. Last year, the publisher were prevented from taking over the Orange County Register, which would have given them a near monopoly on mid-major daily newspapers in Southern California (they already owned the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune). But the DOJ stepped in, and Digital First Media ended up with the prize.

Also part of the deal is the city’s alt-weekly Chicago Reader, which is also printed by Tronc as part of the contract to print the Sun-Times.

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