The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Public Media are exploring the possibility of a merger to form one massive media company, according to multiple reports.
Ownership of the two companies signed a nonbinding letter of intent, according to an announcement on Wednesday evening, with the stated goal of completing a potential merger by the end of 2021 and making the Sun-Times a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, the newspaper reported.
“I can confirm that we are currently exploring partnerships and opportunities with the Chicago Sun-Times to strengthen local journalism in the city and our region,” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog wrote Wednesday morning. “These conversations are an important part of our commitment to serving Chicago and ensuring local news continues to thrive.”
Moog, in an interview with the Sun-Times, said the plan would be for the outlet’s two newsrooms to operate independently “out of the gate,” but added “a lot of the organizational things, frankly, depend on the input of the staff.”
Moog said there are “no plans for job reduction at all.”
The proposed merger was first reported by Sun-Times media columnist Robert Feder, who reported the deal, if it were to go through, would “combine ownership” at the two media companies.
Moog did not address any potential ownership structure in his message to WBEZ staffers, the outlet reported.
Nykia Wright, the Sun-Times CEO, wrote in a message to staff on Wednesday that the newspaper is “in talks with Chicago Public Media to determine if there is an opportunity to become a combined entity. It is very important to note that we are not close to any deal. Opportunities like this require a lot of due diligence.”
Moog told staffers at WBEZ that “the fundamental premise of these talks is about growth and investment and expanding local journalism in Chicago. Job security and offering career opportunities are of paramount importance.”