Swiss billionaire ending bid for Tribune Publishing: report

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A Swiss billionaire has backed out of the running to purchase Tribune Publishing, The New York Times reported Sunday, potentially jeopardizing a bid favored by its journalists.

The Times reported that Hansjörg Wyss pulled out of a bid he had submitted alongside Maryland multimillionaire Stewart Bainum Jr., who has sought to purchase Tribune Publishing and place the Baltimore Sun, his hometown paper, into the ownership of a nonprofit.

Wyss pulled out of the bid, which was presented in March, after realizing that turning the Tribune-owned Chicago Tribune into a national media brand would be more difficult than he realized, according to the Times, who spoke to several sources close to the deliberations.

Those sources added that Bainum remains committed to the bid and is seeking alternative funding for the venture, according to the Times. Both Wyss and Bainum, as well as the Tribune declined to comment to the newspaper for the story.

Journalists at the Tribune cheered the entry of Wyss and Bainum into the bidding war for the company after it was announced in February that Alden Global Capital, known for aggressively cutting newsroom staff at media organizations it has purchased in the past, had won a nonbinding agreement to buy the company. Wyss and Bainum’s bid was ruled superior in March.

Layoffs in the media industry hit a record high in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many companies to shutter ventures that served as their profit-earning arms.


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