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State Treasurers Back Bainum Bid

In a letter to Tribune Publishing, state treasurers from Maryland, Connecticut, and Illinois encouraged the company to consider again the offer of $18.50/share from Maryland investor Stewart Bainum, Jr. The three state leaders – Nancy K. Kopp (Maryland), Shawn T. Wooden (Connecticut), and Michael W. Frerichs (Illinois) – have witnessed the damage caused by Alden’s liquidation strategy for news outlets at MediaNews Group, a pattern that has been repeated at Tribune Publishing since Alden bought into the company in fall 2019 and was rewarded with two board seats: “Our communities are ill-served by such dramatic cuts in news coverage,” they wrote.  

Instead, the three state treasurers applaud the approach of Bainum who intends to run the Maryland papers on a nonprofit basis and to sell the other titles to “civic-minded investors” in their respective cities: “This model of local, public-spirited ownership will focus on serving the communities’ needs for high-quality news and information.”

The letter urges the company to set five conditions for the sale of the company to ensure viable journalism meeting community needs:

  • Maintain newsroom staffing at current levels for the next five years;
  • Refrain from closing or moving printing within these three states;
  • Ensure lease payments are made to landlords;
  • Welcome queries from local investors who want to buy individual local papers; and
  • Disclose the funding sources – both domestic and foreign – for the acquisition of the company.