Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, is buying the NY Daily News from real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman.
No cash is changing hands for the purchase according to The NY Times, and Tronc will assume operations and pension liability for the paper, estimated at $30 million.
The Daily News is one of two remaining tabloids in NYC and has reportedly lost money over the past several years due to declining circulation and advertising. Losses may reach $50 million this year. The paper has also been hit by layoffs and cutbacks of long-time editorial staff as well.
Tronc, which is short for Tribune Online Content, owns other major newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and San Diego Union-Tribune.
“We are excited to welcome the New York Daily News team to the tronc family, and we look forward to working with them to serve new audiences and marketers while delivering value for our shareholders,” said Justin Dearborn, tronc CEO. “As part of the tronc portfolio, the New York Daily News will provide us with another strategic platform for growing our digital business, expanding our reach and broadening our services for advertisers and marketers.”
Noting that tronc’s predecessor company, The Tribune Company, founded the New York Daily News, Dearborn added, “With the New York Daily News back under our umbrella, tronc will serve 10 major U.S. markets, including each of the top three, hold 105 Pulitzers and have over 80 million unique monthly digital visitors.”
The New York Daily News, with approximately 25 million unique monthly visitors through NYDailyNews.com, has been New York City’s “Hometown Newspaper” since 1919. It has won 11 Pulitzer Prizes, most recently the prize in the category of public service journalism in 2017.
Arthur Browne, current editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News has also been named as Publisher. Mr. Browne, who previously indicated his intention to retire from the paper, has agreed to stay until the end of 2017. He will report to tronc President Timothy Knight.
Under the terms of the transaction, tronc assumed operational and pension liabilities of the New York Daily News. The Company said it will meet the obligations from New York Daily News cash flow.
The transaction includes 100% ownership of the New York Daily News’ printing facility in Jersey City, NJ. As part of the transaction, tronc will acquire a 49.9% interest in a joint venture with Zuckerman-related entities that will own the 25-acre parcel of land on which the printing facility is located and which overlooks the Manhattan skyline.
“Over the past near-century, the New York Daily News has served New York City and its surrounding areas with its award-winning journalism and helped shape the dynamics of the city,” said Mort Zuckerman, New York Daily News Chairman and Publisher, and owner since 1993.
“The New York Daily News is a venerable New York City institution,” added New York Daily News co-Publisher Eric Gertler. “We believe that under tronc’s leadership, the New York Daily News will maintain its tradition of excellence in journalism and continue to be a critical voice for millions of print and online readers.”
“Under the ownership of Mortimer Zuckerman, the New York Daily News was awarded five Pulitzer Prizes recognizing their commitment to quality journalism that serves the citizens of New York City and the surrounding area. We look forward to continuing this great tradition and appreciate his faithful stewardship as its owner,” said Timothy Knight, tronc President.
Methuselah Advisors acted as Daily News, L.P.’s financial advisor and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as the corporate counsel.