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A bad name stumbles into the sunset.
One’s a family-controlled, century-plus-old newspaper chain, known for believing in its civic mission but not for its digital strategy. The other is, well, Tronc. With an assist from L.A.’s richest man, could this be a path forward?
Rupert Murdoch owning the New York Daily News? A McCormick controlling the Chicago Tribune again? The L.A. Times pulling a Washington Post, aiming to run the industry’s underlying infrastructure? A lot of change is coming soon.
What will happen to the price of Tronc shares as investors, a good number of speculators among them, assess the post-L.A. Times value of a major daily newspaper chain effectively halved in the deal?
For a company that’s known little but chaos in its short life, the degree of uncertainty is now as high as ever. Just about the only thing we know: Tronc execs will come out well in the end.
As much of Tronc’s turbulence looks to be clearing, new questions are emerging about who will next lead the big metro chain.
Even without the L.A. Times, it still controls a lot of important newspapers. Will it sell them to Gannett, Murdoch, local individuals in each city — or to yet another private equity firm looking to strip papers for parts?
Three possibilities: Tronc merges with Gannett, Ferro tries to take the company private, or — maybe — Tronc begins to act more like a normal company.
Plus: Digital First’s owner gets sued for alleged bad behavior, The Athletic looks to get huge, and Advance newspapers start poking at paywalls.
Tronc is getting a big premium for its flagship asset, and the Times is getting a return to private, local ownership. But a lot of questions remain about where Patrick Soon-Shiong will take his new prize.