Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss appear to have topped the bid of hedge fund Alden Global Capital to win full control of Tribune Publishing, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
According to the report, Bainum and Wyss submitted a bid worth $680 million — well over Alden’s $635 million offer for full control of the parent company of the Chicago Tribune.
"Civic minded bidders have submitted a $680 million offer to buy Tribune Publishing, a fully financed deal that’s more than what Alden Global Capital has offered," tweeted Greg Pratt, president of the Chicago Tribune Guild. "There is no more important issue for the @chicagotribune than escaping Alden."
Alden already owns a 32 percent stake in Tribune Publishing. The hedge fund is known as a "destroyer of newspapers" because of its cost-cutting history.
"If Alden loses the deal, it would mark a stunning, 11th-hour turnaround for the New York hedge fund, and a major victory for critics who say its model of aggressive cost-cutting has hurt the local news industry," the Journal reported.
"Alden had spent nearly a year-and-a-half positioning itself to take over Tribune, publisher of nine large-market daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and the Baltimore Sun."