Published: Tue, September 05, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Tronc brings New York Daily News home with acquisition

Tronc brings New York Daily News home with acquisition

Tronc, a newspaper publication better known as the parent company of The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times has announced that it is set acquire New York's Daily News.

Tribune Co. owned the NY paper until 1991, when it was bought by British newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell.

"The News once boasted A-list columnists including Liz Smith, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill, but it has been worn down by a grinding tabloid war with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled New York Post".

The Daily News has endured waves of layoffs in recent years as it weathered circulation declines. The circulation, which exceeded 2 million in the 1940s, is now in the low hundred thousands.

However, even if The News exerts less influence as in the past it still has the power to reverberate in the city and beyond.

The paper a year ago shared the Pulitzer Prize with ProPublica for public service after an investigation revealed a systemic abuse of an obscure civil enforcement law that ousted shop owners from their business and residents from their homes.

The paper attracted particular attention during the US presidential campaign for its aggressive and uncompromising front page headlines about the candidacy of Donald Trump.

"The New York Daily News is a venerable New York City institution", Eric Gertler, the co-publisher of The News, said in a statement.

Tronc was interested in the News because of the 25 million unique monthly visitors drawn to its website, which will increase Tronc's digital audience, Tim Knight, the president of Tronc digital unit TroncX, said in an interview.

At Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, the deal is something of a triumph for its chairman, Michael W. Ferro Jr., who took control of the company in early 2016. Tribune Publishing became Tronc, and Tribune Media, owner of FOX61 and dozens of other stations, is expected to be sold to Sinclair around the first of the year.

In some ways, the deal is a homecoming.

CNN's Brian Stelter described the acquisition as a "sign of the perilous times for newspaper publishers" while Tronc's Chicago Tribune called the takeover a "stunning and bold bet on the future of newspapers". No cash will change hands. The report said printing operations for the Courant will be moved to New Jersey.

Such an arrangement could be worth millions of dollars annually.

"Adding an iconic media property like The Daily News not only expands our tremendous portfolio of newspaper brands, it also allows us to grow our digital platform and broaden our services for advertisers and marketers", Dearborn said.

Zuckerman put The News up for sale in 2015 and drew interest from several wealthy businessmen, including the supermarket magnate John A. Catsimatidis.

Justin Dearborn, Tronc's chief executive officer, was quoted by the Tribune as saying, "This is a great deal for the paper and for us".

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