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Fri May 21, 2021, 01:05 PM

'Vulture' Fund Alden Global, Known For Slashing Newsrooms, Buys Tribune Papers [View all]

Source: NPR

The New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital – known for slashing its newspapers' budgets to extract escalated profits – won shareholder approval Friday for its $633 million bid to acquire the Tribune Publishing newspaper chain.

The purchase represents the culmination of Alden's years-long drive to take over the company and its storied titles – including Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, New York Daily News and major metro papers from Hartford, Conn. to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Alden's reputation had set off a frantic effort by union members in Tribune Publishing newsrooms. Their organizer, Baltimore Sun education reporter Liz Bowie, dubbed the effort "Project Mayhem." The journalists tried to secure potential buyers in numerous Tribune markets who embraced the public-minded aspirations of journalism, including the Maryland philanthropist and hotel magnate Stewart Bainum Jr.

After a process marked by intrigue and whiplash, Alden dashed all those hopes. The hedge fund already held a 32-percent stake in Tribune. Alden's founder, Randall Smith, sits on Tribune's board, as do two other directors with close ties to Alden. Smith's protégé, Heath Freeman, oversees Alden's previous newspaper holdings and is the fund's president. Both men keep low public profiles.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2021/05/21/998730863/vulture-fund-alden-global-known-for-slashing-newsrooms-buys-tribune-papers

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