If accepted, the $24 per share purchase price would . Probably not.. Alden Global Capital, the New York hedge fund that bought Tribune Publishing this year, said on Monday that it was making an offer for another big American newspaper chain, Lee . It was all about the next quarters profit margins, says Matt DeRienzo, who worked as a publisher for Aldens Connecticut newspapers before finally resigning. [4][13], In November 2021, Alden made an offer to Lee to purchase the company in its entirety for roughly $141 million. The scene was somehow even grimmer than Id imagined. They had a father-figure relationship, one told me. Im repulsed by the incestuous world of New York journalism, he tells New York magazine. October 14, 2021. She was writing about Aldens growing newspaper empire, and wanted to know what it was like to be the last news reporter in town. Alden gradually took control of the papers that would become DFM. This is the story weve been telling for decades about the dying local-news industry, and its not without truth. In addition to the constant layoffs, our buildings were being sold, basic office supplies became scarce and the hot water stopped working. He declined to meet me in person or to appear on Zoom. On March 9, 2020, a small group of Baltimore Sun reporters convened a secret meeting at the downtown Hyatt Regency. According to its 990s, Knight ended up making $185,000 over five years on its initial $13.4 million investment. Alden Capital's gutting of the Denver Post is the most discussed example of this, but there are many others. Former Knight-Ridder headquarters. "[26] Shortly thereafter, Alden Global, through its operating unit Strategic Investment Opportunities, filed a lawsuit in state court in Delaware against Lee Enterprises. To many, it just didnt seem possible that Alden would instead choose to destroy newspapers by laying off the workforce en masse and stripping papers of all their assets. Alden Global Capital had recently purchased a nearly one-third stake in the Suns parent company, Tribune Publishing, and the firm was signaling that it would soon come for the rest. California biotech billionaire and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns 24%, But it turned out that Smith had so many doorsteps16 mansions in Palm Beach alone, as of a few years ago, some of them behind gatesthat the plan proved impractical. . But Glidden felt sure he knew the real reason: Alden wanted him gone. Alden, a New York City-based firm that has become the grim reaper of American newspapers, had recently increased its stake in Tribune Publishing to 32%making it the largest shareholder of the . Hedge fund Alden Global Capital, one of the country's largest newspaper owners with a reputation for intense cost cuts and layoffs, has offered to buy the local newspaper chain Lee Enterprises for about $141 million. Last week, Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund notorious for slashing costs at its local titles, came down on the No side of the question, with editorial boards at papers that it owns stating that they will no longer endorse candidates for governor, US senator, or president. The Tribune Company (which owns the newspapers mentioned above) was still turning a profit when Alden bought it, but the hedge fund immediately offered aggressive rounds of buyouts and shrunk its newsrooms in the name of increasing profit margins. When lawmakers pressed for details last year on who funds Alden, the company replied that there may be certain legal entities and organizational structures formed outside of the United States.. What happens next? Freeman never responded. So what is this Distressed Opportunities fund? Many in the journalism industry, watching lawsuits play out in Australia and Europe, have held out hope in recent years that Google and Facebook will be compelled to share their advertising revenue with the local outlets whose content populates their platforms. In its bid to acquire Tribune Publishing, the hedge fund Alden Global Capital vowed to provide $375 million in cash to the owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and other titles a . Layout design was outsourced to freelancers in the Philippines. In the face of that setback, Alden said it would turn to the tactic of filing a proxy statement asking the company's shareholders to vote no on board members Mary Junck and Herbert Moloney during the March 2022 board elections. Alden-owned newspapers have cut their staff at twice the rate of their competitors, for all of Tribune Publishings newspapers, security company that trained Saudi operatives. By that point, Alden was widely known as the grim reaper of American newspapers, as Vanity Fair had put it, and news of the acquisition plans had unleashed a wave of panic across the industry. But that's not true for all of them. Traditional newspaper business model says you make 95% of your money off ad sales and the rest off subscriptions. Baltimore is an underdog town, Liz Bowie, a Sun reporter who was at the meeting, told me. It has filed a lawsuit in its bid to buy out news publisher Lee Enterprises. After serving in the Carter administrations Treasury Department, Brian became widely knownand fearedin the 80s for his hard-line negotiating style. Before our interview, Id contacted a number of Aldens reporters to find out what they would ask their boss if they ever had the chance. Many of the operators were looking at the newspaper business as a local advertising business, he said, and we didnt believe that was the right way to look at it. On more than one occasion, according to people I spoke with, he asked aloud, What do all these people do? According to the former executive, Freeman once suggested in a meeting that Aldens newspapers could get rid of all their full-time reporters and rely entirely on freelancers. It is the nations second-largest newspaper owner by circulation. ", "Hedge Fund Reaches a Deal to Buy Tribune Publishing", "Opinion - Will The Chicago Tribune Be the Next Newspaper Picked to the Bone? In early 2011, Alden was still considered a non-controlling investor, but by the end of the year, that would change. Alden Global Capital already had a 32% stake in Tribune Publishing, which owns famous names like the Tribune, Daily News, the Hartford Courant and others, and on Tuesday announced it would pay . This is predatory.. . [29] This attempt also failed, as shareholders returned both directors to the Lee board despite Alden's opposition. Freeman was only slightly more accessible. We dont hear from them Theyre, like, nameless, faceless people., In the months that followed, the Sun did not immediately experience the same deep staff cuts that other papers did. In a press release Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 Alden said it sent Lee's board a letter with the offer. At the time, the Sun had a bustling bureau in Annapolis, and he marveled at the reporters ability to sort the honest politicians from the political whores by exposing abuses of power. At the time, even savvy media insiders like Martin Langeveld wistfully predicted Alden would keep newspapers future in mind: Smith knows that the only way to win his big bet on the future of newspapers is to turn them into nimble, modern digital news enterprises.. But I had underestimated how little Aldens founders care about their standing in the journalism world. The newspaper lost a quarter of its staff to buyouts after it was acquired by Alden Global Capital in May. Freeman would show up at business meetings straight from the gym, clad in athleisure, the executive recalled, and would find excuses to invoke his college-football heroics, saying things like When I played football at Duke, I learned some lessons about leadership. (Freeman was a walk-on placekicker on a team that won no games the year he played.). Lee, which owns the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Omaha World-Herald and many other daily newspapers throughout the region, is staving off a takeover attempt by Alden Global Capital, a New-York . The firm oversaw the promotion of John Paton, a charismatic digital-media evangelist, who improved the papers web and mobile offerings and increased online ad revenue. "60 Minutes" correspondent Jon Wertheim did a strong piece that aired Sunday night about the grim state of local newspapers, in part because of how hedge funds, such as Alden Global Capital . The new owners did not fly to Chicago to address the staff, nor did they bother with paeans to the vital civic role of journalism. "A lot of cities almost operate with the assumption that there will be at least one local newspaper, in some cases several local newspapers, acting as a check on the authorities," he says. Located in the same Manhattan office building as Alden, it funds stem-cell research, health-related charities, arts and culture and Duke University, alma mater of Smiths protg Heath Freeman. But outside the industry, few seemed to notice. When Alden first got into the news business, Freeman seemed willing to indulge some innovation. As the months passed, things kept getting worse. But there was still a sliver of hope: Tribune and Alden agreed that the hedge fund would not increase its stake in the company for at least seven months. The story of Alden Capital begins on the set of a 1960s TV game show called Dream House. After all, it has a long and venerable history of supporting local news. Chicago-based Tribune Publishing on Tuesday announced a proposed sale to hedge fund Alden Global Capital in a deal valued at $630 million. Its not as if the Tribune is just withering on the vine despite the best efforts of the gardeners, Charlie Johnson, a former Metro reporter, told me after the latest round of buyouts this summer. Smith began investing in newspapers and media around the same time. Scott Olson/Getty Images The best architects of the era were invited to submit designs; lofty quotes about the Fourth Estate were selected to adorn the lobby. At the same time, he increased subscription prices in many markets; it would take awhile for subscribersmany of them older loyalists who didnt carefully track their billsto notice that they were paying more for a worse product. he asks. Prior to the buildings completion, McCormick directed his foreign correspondents to collect fragments of various historical sitesa brick from the Great Wall of China, an emblem from St. Peters Basilicaand send them back to be embedded in the towers facade. He started as a general-assignment reporter, covering local crime and community events. Much of the Knight family's once-grand newspaper empire was ultimately acquired by Alden Global Capital, while the family foundation invested in Alden funds. Below are highlights from his conversation with Morning Edition's A Martnez. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. It financed the deal with the help of Cerberusa private-equity firm that owned, among other businesses, the security company that trained Saudi operatives who participated in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Iowa-based Lee Enterprises asks investors to help fight off hedge fund Alden Global Capital. To replace a paper like the Sun would require a large, talented staff that covers not just government, but sports and schools and restaurants and art. After college he worked at Hudson Studio, Art Foundry in Niverville, NY . As a privately held hedge fund, Alden doesnt have to reveal much to the public. By Julie Reynolds. Inside Alden Global Capital. A Secretive Hedge Fund Is Gutting Newsrooms. Who is investor Randall Smith and why is he buying up newspaper companies, deep losses to Alden funds overall values, Denver Post newsroom workers invoke Thirst Amendment to raise awareness about conditions under Alden, Pittsburgh newspaper workers are making history, The NewsGuild urges public pension funds to divest from Cerberus, NewsGuild to Lee Shareholders: Reject Aldens Vote No Campaign. In a news release Monday, Alden said it sent Lee's board a letter with the offer. They were very tight. Freeman has resisted elaborating on his relationship with Smith, saying simply that they were family friends before going into business together. The details of how Smith got to know him are opaque, but the resulting loyalty was evident. In recent months, hes been meeting with leaders of local-news start-ups across the countryThe Texas Tribune, the Daily Memphian, The City in New Yorkand collecting best practices. Hedge fund Alden Global Capital will acquire the rest of what it does not already own of Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and other local newspapers, in a . During its five-year run with Alden, it seems quite unlikely that no one at Knight knew about the hedge funds slash-and-burn strategy for two reasons. But there are some clues here and there. But even for a group of journalists, it was tough to keep the publics attention. "[25], In early December, the board of Lee unanimously rejected the Alden bid, saying that the Alden proposal "grossly undervalues Lee and fails to recognize the strength of our business today. Hedge fund Alden Global Capital, one of the country's largest newspaper owners with a reputation for intense cost cuts and layoffs, has offered to buy the local newspaper chain Lee Enterprises for . Alden is not a newspaper company, says Ann Marie Lipinski, a former editor in chief of the Chicago Tribune. When a reporter asked if their work was still valued, the editor sounded deflated. Freemans father, Brian, was a successful investment banker who specialized in making deals on behalf of labor unions. They are also defined by an obsessive secrecy. It was clear that they didnt care about this being a business in the future. It makes me profoundly sad to think about what the Trib was, what it is, and what its likely to become, says David Axelrod, who was a reporter at the paper before becoming an adviser to Barack Obama. That might sound like a losing formula, but these papers dont have to become sustainable businesses for Smith and Freeman to make money. We were in collective revolt, Lillian Reed, a Sun reporter who helped organize the campaign, told me. Have you heard of the hedge fund Alden Global Capital? At the end of last month, Alden Global Capital, a notorious newspaper-owning hedge fund, sought to stake its claim on one of the last newspaper chains it hasn't yet touched: Lee Enterprises, which owns 90 publications across the country.Alden, which currently owns six percent of Lee's stock, sent an unsolicited offer to purchase the newspaper chain for $24 per share. In May 2021, Tribune Publishing finalized its sale to Alden, after having announced in February 2021 that it intended to pursue this path. Read: What we lost when Gannett came to town. Russ Smith is a puckish libertarian whose self-described contempt for the journalistic class animates the pages of the publication. Over the course of seven years, Alden doubled profits in its Bay Area News Group newspapers, another home to cutbacks. Updated May 21, 2021 at 2:13 PM ET. But maybe the clearest illustration is in Vallejo, California, a city of about 120,000 people 30 miles north of San Francisco. By the 1980s, this strategy has made Randy luxuriously wealthyvacations in the French Riviera, a family compound outside New York Cityand he has begun to school his children on the wonders of capitalism. [2][3] By mid-2020, Alden had stakes in roughly two hundred American newspapers. The Banner will launch with about 50 journalistsnot far from the size of the Sunand an ambitious mandate. The Tampa Bay Times has sold its printing plant at 1301 34th St. N to a real estate arm of Alden Global Capital, a New York hedge fund that is the second-largest newspaper owner in the country. A search through nonprofit groups publicly available financial reports, commonly known as Form 990s, reveals that all kinds of organizations some surprising have invested their monies with Alden over the years. [3] [4] With its acquisition of Tribune Publishing in late . The company has been growing its portfolio and as of May 2021, owns over 100 newspapers and 200 assorted other publications. [11], In November 2021, Alden Global Capital made an offer to purchase Lee Enterprises for $24 a share in cash, or about $141 million. Its the meanness and the elegance of the capitalist marketplace brought to newspapers, Doctor told me. What exactly went wrong would become a point of bitter debate among the journalists involved in the campaigns. Prior to the acquisition of the Tribune Company, we purchased substantially all of our newspapers out of bankruptcy or close to liquidation, he told me. Alden's holdings already spanned the country, including the . I asked, What is the Foundations perspective on those investments now, as news of Aldens gutting of these newspapers has come to light?. A month after he started, one of his fellow reporters left and Glidden was asked to start covering schools in addition to his other responsibilities. But as long as Alden had made back its money, the investment would be a success. You have no way of knowing that if you dont have some nosy son of a bitch asking a lot of questions down there, he told me. At the Pioneer Press , where its staff is down to 60, the paper produced a . [4], Alden purchased a 5.9-percent stake in Lee Enterprises in January 2020. When plans for the building were announced in 1922, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime owner of the Chicago Tribune, said he wanted to erect the worlds most beautiful office building for his beloved newspaper. A group of 11 community newspapers owned by Red Wing Publishing Co. have been sold to MediaNews Group, owner of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and more than 100 newspapers across the country. Alden currently owns 32%. All good works, and Knight is to be commended for them. Dec 9, 2021. But he couldnt help feeling that the police scandal would have been exposed much sooner if the Sun were operating at full force. adams county, il inmate list, edelbrock vrs 4150 availability,