Tribune Publishing’s board on Monday reviewed at least three bids to buy the newspaper company, sources said.
Offers from newspaper chain McClatchy, investment firm Donerail and Aim Media were all on the table during the regularly scheduled board meeting in Chicago, sources said. The bids were submitted before a deadline last Thursday set by Chicago-based Tribune Publishing.
Terms of the offers were not disclosed and it is unknown if other bids were submitted for consideration.
Jeremy Halbreich, chairman and CEO of Aim Media, and Tribune Publishing spokeswoman Marisa Kollias declined to comment Monday, as did representatives for McClatchy and Donerail.
Investment bank Lazard, which is conducting the sale process for Tribune Publishing, reached out to potential buyers over the weekend to discuss the bids before presenting them to the board Monday, sources said. It is unclear if any of the offers might lead to a sale of the Chicago Tribune and other major daily newspapers.
California-based newspaper chain McClatchy, a publicly traded company that owns more than 30 newspapers in 14 states, emerged as a potential buyer in September. The Donerail Group, a recently formed New York-based investment firm, has been in talks to buy Tribune Publishing since early August.
Halbreich, the former Sun-Times Media CEO, launched Dallas-based AIM Media in 2012, buying a group of medium-sized Texas newspapers from Freedom Communications. The company added an Indiana newspaper portfolio in 2015 and expanded to Ohio in 2017.
Tribune Publishing, formerly known as Tronc, also owns the Baltimore Sun; Hartford Courant; Orlando Sentinel; South Florida’s Sun Sentinel; the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia; and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Virginia. The company reverted to its legacy name last month.
Sources said Tribune Publishing is seeking between $17 and $20 per share, which would value the company at upward of $700 million. The stock closed at $16.60 on Monday.
Tribune Publishing is scheduled to report its third-quarter earnings today after the market closes.