Tuesday, June 30, 2020

"Newsonomics: The next 48 hours could determine the fate of two of America’s largest newspaper chains"

From NiemanLab:

Tribune and McClatchy are both approaching critical deadlines that could lead to mergers, divisions — or even the first big nonprofit newspaper chain in the United States.
The next 48 hours may decide the fate of two of America’s largest newspaper chains that collectively serve almost a fifth of all American local newspaper readers.

And what happens in those hours could prompt a wave of other moves across the rest of the industry.
The dates June 30 and July 1 have called out from the calendar for a while now. On Tuesday, Tribune Publishing will reach the end of two “standstill” periods. Tribune’s two major shareholders — Alden Global Capital, with 33 percent of the company’s shares, and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, with 25 percent — had promised not to actively buy or sell any shares until June 30.
When that restriction ends, you can expect Tribune’s uneasy status quo to come to an end quickly. After a chaotic decade, the chain had been briefly semi-stable after Michael Ferro’s departure from management. But then Alden bought up those shares in November, and since then Tribune has given Alden two board seats, imposed Alden-style cuts, and created Alden-style management chaos.
Then, on Wednesday, final bids for McClatchy’s 30 newspapers are due, as the country’s second-largest chain prepares to wind toward some exit from bankruptcy....