Hedge fund Alden Global Capital has acquired a significant stake in newspaper chain Tribune Publishing as the media industry continues to grapple with upheaval.
Alden, which earlier this year failed in a hostile attempt to engineer a takeover of USA TODAY owner Gannett, bought about 9.07 million shares of Tribune for a total stake of about 25.2%, the newspaper company disclosed Tuesday.
The disclosure came soon after New Media Investment Group and Gannett completed their merger. Alden had invested in both media companies and backed the deal after previously waging a campaign for its newspaper company, MNG Enterprises, to acquire Gannett.
Chicago-based Tribune’s daily publications include the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and the Orlando Sentinel.
Alden has faced criticism from journalism advocates for maximizing profits by implementing steep cuts in newsrooms at MNG’s newspapers, such as the Denver Post and Boston Herald.
Proxy fight: Gannett board members reelected as shareholders reject Alden Global Capital’s MNG nominees
CEOs of new Gannett: ‘Pivot’ needed for digital transformation as merger is completed
“The Tribune Publishing Board of Directors looks forward to working with Alden to enhance our company’s value as the company continues to provide valuable journalism for our customers and communities,” Tribune Chairman David Dreier said in a statement. “Tribune is a leader in each of our eight markets providing quality, locally focused journalism. Our board believes that solid journalism enhances shareholder value and that will continue to be our driving principle.”
Alden had no immediate comment Tuesday.
Alden paid $13 per share in a deal with Merrick Ventures and Merrick’s CEO, Michael W. Ferro, Jr., who previously served as chairman Tribune when it was known as Tronc.
Tribune said it was in discussions with Alden for two new members of its board, which would go from six to eight.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.