The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division has been working with Wrapports to solicit qualified buyers for the two publications. Otherwise, the company is expected to be acquired by Chicago Tribune owner tronc, according to a letter of intent signed last month.
“With continued interest in the Sun-Times, we are working through the due diligence phase of the process with interested parties,” Jim Kirk, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, told employees in an email Monday. “We have agreed with the Department of Justice that bids for the company would be due at the end of business on Monday, June 19.”
The only confirmed potential competing bidder is a group led by former Chicago Alderman Edwin Eisendrath, who is working with a coalition of area unions, including the Chicago Federation of Labor.
In announcing its intention to buy Wrapports, tronc said it would operate the Sun-Times with a separate newsroom and “help it maintain its independent voice” if the deal goes through.
Editorial employees of the daily Sun-Times and the weekly Reader represented by the Chicago News Guild are urging the Justice Department to block the sale to tronc, saying it would create a “Chicago news monopoly.” Union members say they fear the Sun-Times would not remain a viable competitor to the Tribune.
Here is the complete text of Kirk’s email to employees:
Everyone, just a quick update on the sale process.
With continued interest in the Sun-Times, we are working through the due diligence phase of the process with interested parties. That work will continue through this week. We have agreed with the Department of Justice that bids for the company would be due at the end of business on Monday, June 19.
I want to thank everyone for the focus and dedication on the great journalism we do, as well as serving our readers and clients.
More to come.