Friday, June 16, 2017

Will Tronc Get Squeezed Out of a Sun-Times Acquisition?


Credit the Cubbies.
The Chicago Sun-Times, long the struggling second newspaper of the city, managed to about break even in 2016, even as the fortunes of the overall newspaper business took a turn for the worse. Why? In strong part, the Chicago Cubs broke their curse, and with a heroic World Series comeback, won their first championship since 1908. The Sun-Times benefited, with papers, commemorative sections and advertising sold. 
As the strands of "Go, Cubs, Go" faded along with the once-in-a-lifetime revenue into last year, the Sun-Times owners faced bad numbers on the horizon. Their appraisal: the Sun-Times, down to 70 journalists from a height of more than 400 in its heyday, could expect to lose almost four million dollars a year in 2017 and 2018, informed sources tell me. The board of Wrapports LLC, the entity formed by a slice of the city's elite in 2011 to preserve a second voice to the stentorian Chicago Tribune, decided it was time to sell. Nursing the Sun-Times along was one thing; answering cash calls was another. The company began making the roads of would-be buyers, including Gannett Co. (GCI) , and Illinois- based Paddock Publishing and Shaw Publishing. None, knowing the financials, evinced interest.

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