Tribune to consider alternative, more lucrative buyout offer

The company that owns the Chicago Tribune and other major U.S. newspapers said Monday that it would discuss a $679 million bid from hotel mogul Stewart Bainum and Wyoming billionaire Hansjörg Wyss that is higher than the $634 million offer from hedge fund Alden Global.

The board’s special committee said in a prepared statement that its decision lets Tribune “engage in discussions and negotiations with, and provide diligence information to Newslight,” which is Bainum and Wyss’ group. But for now it continues to recommend that shareholders choose Alden’s offer.

Tribune Publishing Co. said it got a non-binding proposal from Newslight on Thursday, an offer of $18.50 per share that was fully financed by equity from Bainum and Wyss.

The Newslight offer emerged after pushback from journalists at many of Tribune’s paper against the Alden deal. Alden, one of the country’s largest newspaper publishers, has a reputation for cutting costs and jobs in an industry already hollowed out by newsroom layoffs.

Alden currently owns nearly one-third of Tribune’s shares.

A representative for Alden declined to comment Monday.

Bainum had previously sought to buy the Baltimore Sun as part of the Alden deal, but negotiations stalled.