Maryland hotel executive tries to raise new funding for a $ 680 million offer to buy Tribune Publishing after his partner, a Swiss billionaire, withdrew from the tender for the chain of newspapers.
Stewart Bainum is in talks with other potential investors after Hansjörg Wyss stepped down in recent days, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Wyss told Bainum it would take too much investment to turn the channel’s flagship product, the Chicago Tribune, into a national publication, according to the person, who spoke anonymously because it was not authorized. to discuss private negotiations.
Wyss and Bainum offered to buy the channel for $ 18.50 per share, beating the previous offer of $ 17.25 per share, or $ 634 million, from Tribune’s largest shareholder, hedge fund Alden Global Capital. . Bainum informed Tribune representatives of Wyss’s withdrawal on Friday and they allowed him to speak to other potential investors, according to the person familiar with the matter.
Bainum was initially interested in purchasing one of Tribune’s newspapers, the Baltimore Sun, but vowed to acquire the entire company. Two investors have expressed interest in acquiring the Orlando, Florida Sentinel from Tribune: former Thomson Financial CEO Mason Slaine and Craig Mateer, who founded an Orlando-based baggage handling company.
Through a spokesperson, the Tribune Publishing board special committee that handles the offers declined to comment. An attempt to contact Wyss through his foundation failed.
Tribune also owns the New York Daily News, the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant and other newspapers.
Alden owns numerous newspapers through its subsidiary MediaNews Group, including the Boston Herald, Denver Post, and San Jose Mercury News. Alden has become First shareholder of Tribune Publishing in 2019 and now owns a 32% stake in the Chicago-based company. He plans to make Tribune private.
Wyss, 85, founded medical device maker Synthes USA, which he sold to Johnson & Johnson for around $ 20 billion in cash and stock in 2012. Forbes recently estimated his wealth at $ 6 billion. Wyss now lives in Wyoming.
Wyss’s withdrawal was reported earlier by the Chicago Tribune.