The acquisition of The Baltimore Sun by a nonprofit headed by Takoma Park businessman Stewart Bainum, Jr. has reached an impasse, according to Marc Tracy of The New York Times. Bainum is now reportedly considering purchasing all of Tribune Publishing:
A deal that would reshape the American newspaper industry has run into complications just one month after an agreement was reached, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. As a result, the New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital may have to fend off a new suitor for Tribune Publishing, the chain that owns major metropolitan dailies across the country, including The Chicago Tribune, The Daily News and The Baltimore Sun, the people said.
According to the New York Times article, Bainum and Alden Capital, current owners of Tribune Publishing, are at odds over operating agreements that would be in effect as the Maryland newspaper properties would transition between owners. In response, Bainum has taken an initial step in acquiring all of Tribune Publishing: asking to be released from a nondisclosure agreement, which would allow him to pursue partners for a new acquisition deal.
We reported in February that The Baltimore Sun and its affiliates were 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, would return to Maryland ownership, after being acquired from Tribune Publishing. The sale would be part of a $630 million deal 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 last month said Alden Global Capital signed a “nonbinding term sheet” to sell The Sun to the nonprofit established by Bainum. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“The Sun is a Maryland institution with a proud history, and an employer of hundreds of Marylanders,” Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Governor Larry Hogan, said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun in February. “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 the 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.