2 billionaires step forward in attempt to save Chicago Tribune from hedge fund known for deep cuts

Chicago News

CHICAGO — It appeared certain that the Chicago Tribune would be bought by a hedge fund known for deep cuts, but two out-of-town billionaires have stepped forward with a plan to buy the institution.

Since 1847, the Chicago Tribune has provided information about the world to the area; covering topics like economics, education, politics, arts and sports. But the Tribune’s self-bestowed moniker as the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” has been threatened by a New York-based hedge fund called Alden Capital.

The company is infamous for making drastic cuts to the newspapers it has acquired throughout the country.

Chicago Tribune Guild President Greg Pratt said the story of its sale is one of the most important in Chicago.

“One of the biggest, most important stories going on in the city right now is the ownership situation at the Chicago Tribune,” he said.

As the Alden sale moved closer to official, an 11th hour bid “civic-minded” billionaires has provided a surprise twist. Hotel chain owner Stewart Bainum and Swiss philanthropist Hansjorg Wyss have bid $680 million for the paper chain, exceeding the $635 million deal the company had reached with Alden.

The Tribune Publishing board is “expected to favor (the bid) over a takeover deal it already struck with the hedge fund Alden Capital LLC,” the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Alden may need to raise its bid or risk losing it, the report said.

WGN News reached out to Alden for comment, but we haven’t heard back at this time.

“We don’t give up on stories, we don’t give up on journalism, we don’t give up on each other and we’ve never given up hope that somebody would swoop in and save the day,” Pratt said.

Company shareholders will need to vote on the bid and Tribune Publishing hopes to close a deal by July.

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