Hedge fund finalizes acquisition of Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel

Orlando Sentinel
Some are worried the papers are now at risk of staffing, budget cuts.

Shareholders have approved the sale of Tribune Publishing to the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, putting the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel under Alden’s control.

The two major Florida newspapers fall under Tribune Publishing’s portfolio, along with the Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and others.

“We remain committed to serving the community with journalism that makes a difference in our readers’ lives,” said South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson. “Our mission inspires us every day, and that doesn’t change with new owners.”

Alden President Heath Freeman also took an optimistic tone. “Local newspaper brands and operations are the engines that power trusted local news in communities across the United States,” Freeman said. “The purchase of Tribune reaffirms our commitment to the newspaper industry and our focus on getting publications to a place where they can operate sustainably over the long term.”

But some have criticized Alden as a “vulture” firm looking to strip assets from newspapers, including firing staff. In April, the Orlando Sentinel editorial board published a piece asking a white knight investor to swoop in and top Alden’s offer. The New York Daily News made a similar effort.

Maryland businessman Stewart Bainum Jr. did flirt with a deal, that would have valued Tribune at $680 million. Alden’s deal ultimately went through for $633 million after Bainum failed to come through with the necessary funding.

Some unions have already criticized the sale.

“Today, Tribune Publishing shareholders voted to put profit and greed over local news in our country,” read a statement released on behalf of Tribune paper unions. “While we are saddened by the turn of events, we know that our work over the past year — to build allies in the community and to raise awareness about Alden — is not in vain. Those allies will support us as we fight against Alden to protect local news and the cuts that they will inevitably try to make.”

Added NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss, “I am disturbed and upset. Yet, I cannot help but be optimistic. As journalists, we enter this field with a mission and a purpose to listen and report the truth. That mission has always been under attack, yet we continue to persevere.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • Ron Ogden

    May 25, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    “Today, Tribune Publishing shareholders voted to put profit and greed over local news in our country. . .”

    Typical of the kind of second rate writing that infects modern “journalism”. “Profit and greed”? How about sheer survival? “Local news”? Nonsense. Orlando and every other town has many different sources of local news available through several difference channels. They don’t need this deadwood. How did journalists become such utter narcissists? I tell you how: by putting pretty faces above incisive minds and political correctness ahead of intellectual inquiry and healthy skepticism. The darn shame is not that an investor bought these papers, it is that anybody bought them rather than just let them die for the sake of clearing out the trash that has infected this once striving profession.

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