December 7, 2021
Hedge fund Alden in hunt for another big newspaper chain

Hedge fund Alden in hunt for another big newspaper chain

Hedge fund Alden World Capital, one of many nation’s largest newspaper house owners with a fame for intense value cuts and layoffs, has supplied to purchase the native newspaper chain Lee Enterprises for about $141 million.

In a information launch Monday, Alden mentioned it despatched Lee’s board a letter with the supply. It already owns 6% of Lee’s inventory and is proposing to purchase the remainder for $24 a share. Alden says it doesn’t foresee regulatory points that might complicate a deal.

Lee inventory jumped 22% to $22.59 Monday. The Iowa firm’s spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Lee’s papers embody the St. Louis Publish-Dispatch and the Buffalo Information, together with dozens of smaller papers in greater than two dozen states.

Alden scooped up the Tribune papers earlier this yr in a deal that was bitterly contested by the Tribune firm’s personal journalists and group leaders in Tribune’s markets, who sought, finally with out success, to search out native patrons for papers together with the Baltimore Solar and Chicago Tribune. Alden additionally owns the Denver Publish, Orange County Register and Boston Herald.

Alden has a fame for slashing prices, together with promoting off newspapers’ actual property, that go even past the newspaper business’s total flip in that course. The newspaper enterprise has been consolidating because it struggles with a digital transition and shrinking revenues, and monetary corporations like Alden have taken an more and more outstanding position as house owners. Newsroom jobs dropped almost in half from 2004 to 2018, in accordance with Pew Analysis, and the pandemic has exacerbated these stresses. About one-fourth of the nation’s newspapers have closed n the previous 15 years, in accordance with analysis from the College of North Carolina.

Alden mentioned Monday that its supply for Lee is a “reaffirmation of our substantial commitment to the newspaper industry and our desire to support local newspapers over the long term.”

The Lee firm considerably expanded in 2020 when it purchased b illionaire Warren Buffett’s newspaper chai n from Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. On the time, Buffett mentioned, “We had zero curiosity in promoting the group to anybody else for one easy cause: We consider that Lee is finest positioned to handle by means of the business’s challenges.”

Buffett didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Monday.

In a collection of tweets Monday, the union for the Omaha World-Herald’s journalists decried a takeover by Alden, calling the hedge fund “awful” and “mercenaries” that intestine newsroom staffs and lift subscription costs in an try and wring cash out of papers.

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Josh Funk in Omaha, Nebraska contributed to this report.

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