Tronc shares jumped more than 12 percent on Wednesday on a report in its flagship paper, the Chicago Tribune, that the company’s board was considering a sale to a private equity fund.
A deal, if it happens, is still several weeks away, and there is only a 50-50 chance the small private equity firm leading the deal can raise the necessary funds to complete the transaction, sources told The Post.
The identity of the private equity firm was not disclosed in the Tribune report, which said that the bid was somewhere in the range of $19 to $20 a share. The stock closed at $16.64 Wednesday, up $1.87.
Leon Black’s Apollo had looked at buying the company back in April, when it appeared talks to sell the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune were stalling but showed no renewed interest once the $500 million sale of the California papers to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong was completed in June, sources told The Post.
Tronc-owned papers include the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News — which recently laid off 98 people — and a handful of other daily papers including the Hartford Courant and the Allentown Morning Call. Separately, at the News, the Newspaper Mailers and Deliverers Union is said to be seeking to get $500,000 buyouts for its 125 drivers and mailers in a deal to end the NMDU contract in advance of its expiration at the end of 2020.
A big beneficiary of a sale of Tronc would be Michael Ferro, who stepped down as chairman in March, only hours before a story broke detailing alleged sexual harassment in a past job as head of an investment company.
Ferro still controls 25.6 percent of the stock through his Merrick Media and Merrick Venture Management. An earlier deal to sell his stock holdings to McCormick Media collapsed in June.
The company is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings after the market closes on Thursday.
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