Bainum Nonprofit to Acquire The Baltimore Sun, Affiliates

The Baltimore Sun and its affiliates are set to be acquired by a nonprofit formed by Takoma Park businessman and philanthropist Stewart Bainum, Jr., according to a report from the newspaper.

The paper, which is Maryland’s largest, will return to Maryland ownership, after being acquired from Tribune Publishing. The sale will be part of a $630 million deal, announced yesterday, for Alden Global Capital to acquire Tribune Publishing, which also owns The Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, and other major newspapers.

According to The Baltimore Sun, as part of the acquisition, the nonprofit Sunlight for All Institute would acquire The Baltimore Sun, the Capital Gazette papers in Annapolis, the Carroll County Times, and several other Baltimore-area weeklies and magazines, as well as the affiliated online properties.

Tribune Publishing said Alden Global Capital signed a “nonbinding term sheet” to sell The Sun to the nonprofit established by Bainum. The acquisition, of which the terms were not disclosed, is pending approval from Tribune Publishing’s shareholders.

“The Sun is a Maryland institution with a proud history, and an employer of hundreds of Marylanders,” Mike Ricci, a spokesperson for Governor Larry Hogan, said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun. “We wish the paper great success as it returns to being locally-owned, and continues to carry out the work of the free press.”

Bainum, born and raised in Takoma Park, is also chairman of Rockville-based Choice Hotels International, Inc. Bainum had a run in Maryland politics, serving in the House of Delegates from 1979 to 1982, and in the Maryland Senate from 1983 to 1986.

Bainum’s father, Stewart Bainum, Sr., who ran a plumbing business in Washington, D.C., opened a hotel in Silver Spring in 1957. Bainum Sr. subsequently opened more hotels in the area and founded Quality Inns International, which became Choice Hotels International. Bainum Sr. opened a nursing home in Wheaton with his brother in 1960, which grew to 200 nursing homes and retirement facilities, eventually becoming HCR Manor Care via merger in 1988. Bainum Sr. founded the Bainum Family Foundation in 1968, according to the Foundation’s website: “He wanted to give children living in poverty the opportunity to break the bonds of their circumstances through access to high-quality educational opportunities and services.”

Last June, Bainum Jr. spoke on “Travel and Hotels Post Pandemic” as part of Quinnipiac University’s speaker series, The Way Forward.

Photo:  “Baltimore Sun: Light for All” by BrentDPayne is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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