Sale Of Sun-Times, Chicago Reader Delayed By Department Of Justice
By Stephen Gossett in News on May 31, 2017 3:20PM
Photo: Scott Olson
Time is running out for a potential buyer to step in and purchase the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Reader before Tronc's announced intent to buy both papers is possibly finalized. But the window of opportunity has been opened a bit longer: potential suitors will now have an extra five days to officially put forth offers.
Wrapports—which owns the Sun-Times and the Reader—pushed the deadline forward at the urging of the Department of Justice, which must approve any merger through its antitrust division.
"While there has been interest by some, the DOJ has asked us to extend the process only to those prospective bidders who have already expressed interest in the Sun-Times. Those bidders will be given until 5 p.m., June 5th, to provide an initial offer," wrote Jim Kirk, Publisher and Editor In Chief at Sun-Times Media, in an email to employees, according to the Sun-Times.
Employees at the Sun-Times and the Reader who oppose the sale to Tronc—which owns the Tribune, along with a dozen other Chicago-area media properties—are hoping for a lifeline. A petition from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, called No News Monopoly, urged the DOJ to closely scrutinize any deal and see that any deal would "preserve journalistic independence."
Politico reported on Monday night that at least two groups had expressed interest in buying the Sun-Times, according to David Roeder, of the Guild. “Most people at the Sun-Times and the Reader don't want to see the sale to tronc,” he also told Politico.
Tronc announced its intent to purchase Wrapports in mid-May, noting that the acquisition would close as soon as June 1. Neither of the potential buyers that have reportedly pursued a deal since then have identified themselves, but they'll have a few more days to try to get something hammered out.
We may not have one hand guiding both of Chicago's major dailies just yet.