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The Sun-Times And The Tribune Now Have The Same Top Shareholder

By Mae Rice in News on Feb 4, 2016 4:07PM

The majority owner of the Chicago Sun-Times is now also the largest shareholder of Tribune Publishing, the Tribune reports—and they would know. Tribune Publishing owns them, among other local papers across the country.

Michael Ferro, now the puppetmaster of Chicago media at large, bought 5.2 million shares of Tribune Publishing for $44.4 million in a deal announced Thursday, according to the Tribune. Ferro made the purchase through Merrick Media, a Chicago-based investment company he runs.

The deal has not yet turned one day old, and Ferro has already referred to the Tribune as a brand, and its reporting as “content.” The paper reports that Ferro said in a statement, "I am excited to be working with the company’s award-winning brands… I see tremendous upside to create value and put Tribune Publishing at the forefront of technology and content to benefit journalists and shareholders.”

Ferro was previously best-known for defending the decision to cut loose all the Sun-Times photographers, ushering in an era of poorly-lit cellphone photos for the publication.

“I knew the photographers would be going from the day we took this paper over. We took a year and a half too long to do it,” he told Chicago Magazine in 2013.

(Within a year, the Sun-Times had rehired four of their 28 photographers, under the new title of "multimedia journalist," Poynter reported.)

Despite Ferro’s questionable photography opinions, he’ll be tied to the Tribune for a while now. According to the rules of this latest deal, he can’t sell the Tribune Publishing stocks he just bought for three years, the Tribune reports.