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Tribune Publishing will review buyout offer from hedge fund

Executives at Tribune Publishing confirmed a report that said a hedge fund with a significant financial stake in the company had proposed to buy out the remaining shares, bringing the metropolitan newspaper company under a single owner.

Last Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal was first to report Alden Golbal Capital’s buyout offer of $14.25 a share a 78 percent stake in Tribune Publishing. Alden currently owns 32 percent of the company.

The offer was later disclosed in a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The proposal valued Tribune Publishing at $521 million, the Journal said.

Tribune Publishing owns nine metropolitan newspapers, including the flagship Chicago Tribune newspaper. The papers were under common ownership with 39 local television stations, making it one of the largest mass media companies in the United States; the television side of the company split from the print properties in 2014.

On Thursday, executives at the print company said it would form a committee to review Alden’s takeover offer.

“No assurance can be given that Alden’s proposal, or any other transaction, will be consummated,” a spokesperson for Tribune Publishing said in a statement.

If approved, Tribune Publishing would become sister publications to several dozen other local newspapers operated by Alden under the Digital First Media brand. Those papers include the flagship Denver Post newspaper as well as several local and regional newspapers in Northern California, including the San Jose Mercury News, the Vacaville Reporter, the Vallejo Times Herald, the Woodland Daily Democrat, the East Bay Times, the Alameda Times-Star, the Chico Enterprise-Record, the Ukiah Daily Journal, the Palo Alto Daily News, the Fort Bragg Advocate-News, the Lake County Record-Bee, the Marin Independent Journal and the Red Bluff Daily Post.

Alden “has a reputation for making deep cost cuts at titles it acquires,” the Journal said.