December 16, 2019

Media Decoder Blog: Chicago Sun-Times Has a New Owner

10:53 p.m. | Updated A new company called Wrapports, which has a strong focus on digital media, has agreed to buy The Chicago Sun-Times and more than 40 other media properties from Sun-Times Media Holdings, the new company said on Wednesday.

The announcement was made in a news release on Wednesday night after numerous reports that The Sun-Times would be sold.

Wrapports is led by Michael W. Ferro Jr., the chief executive of Merrick Ventures, a technology holding company in Chicago, and Timothy P. Knight, former chief of the Newsday Media Group and former Newsday publisher.

In the release, Mr. Knight said the company would be “introducing cutting-edge technologies, new content portals and other tools that will expand and drive richer and more satisfying content to readers.”

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed in the release, but a person with knowledge of the negotiations, who declined to be identified because the agreement had not yet been made final, said the sale price was approximately $20 million with no assumption of debt — a low price for a major metropolitan daily.

The Sun-Times is Chicago’s second-largest newspaper, after The Tribune, with a circulation of 389,353, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Mr. Ferro is on the board of the Chicago News Cooperative, which publishes local news on its Web site and also has a partnership with The New York Times to produce Chicago-focused news for The Times online and in its print report. The deal is not expected to change the partnership, the person said.

In March, Sun-Times Media, the parent company of The Chicago Sun-Times, appointed Jeremy L. Halbreich chairman of the company. Mr. Halbreich succeeded James C. Tyree, the company’s former chairman, who died in March.

In 2009, Mr. Tyree, the chief executive of Mesirow Financial Holdings, joined with other investors to buy the Sun-Times Media Group, which had filed for bankruptcy that same year, citing a weak forecast for advertising revenue.

In April, The Sun-Times won a Pulitzer Prize for local news reporting for articles on the violent “no snitching” culture in Chicago. The paper had not won a Pulitzer since 1989, when Jack Higgins won one for his editorial cartoons.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=60927a2d68ce9fa114d6837a7c2ebca9

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