Tribune Publishing shareholders have voted to accept a $630 million takeover bid from hedge fund Alden Global Capital, The Associated Press reported Friday.
Alden’s takeover has been fought by journalists at the Chicago Tribune and other Tribune newspapers. The company also owns the New York Daily News, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among other papers.
The deal even prompted reporters at competing newspapers to plead for someone else to step in and prevent the Alden acquisition because of the hedge fund’s reputation for laying off journalists and cutting expenses.
In the hopes of a last-minute reprieve, journalists had lobbied Patrick Soon-Shion, the owner of the Los Angeles Times and a major Tribune shareholder, to block the deal.
However, Soon-Shion, who bought the Times in 2018 to save local journalism in Los Angeles, declined to vote on the matter.
“Dr. Soon-Shiong abstained from voting,” a spokesperson for Soon-Shiong said in an emailed statement.
Instead, the spokesperson wrote, Soon-Shiong is focusing on his California newspapers.
“When he made the investment in 2016, he hoped it would be a pathway to local newspaper ownership in Southern California,” the spokesperson added. “Their focus is and will be on the continued rebuilding and revitalization of The Times and Union-Tribune.”
“The purchase of Tribune reaffirms our commitment to the newspaper industry and our focus on getting publications to a place where they can operate sustainably over the long term.” said Heath Freeman, president of Alden, told the AP in a statement.