The fate of Tribune Publishing hangs in the balance, but Dr Soon Shiong, the LA Times owner who is also the second largest shareholder in the newspaper chain that includes the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune, nearly forget a crucial vote to sell the publisher is set for Friday, May 21.
“I’ve been really focused on what I’m doing.” he told the Washington Post. “I was hoping that there [was] more than one buyer coming through the process,” he said. “And I think I understand that maybe it’s fallen by the wayside. So when Friday comes I’ll turn to all the people who looked at this for me on my behalf, get the advice and make the decision. So unfortunately, I’ve really not made any decision at this point in time.”
Soon-Shiong is seen as the last line of defense to block the takeover of Tribune by the newsroom-slashing hedge fund Alden Global Capital. Alden owns 32 percent of the stock and has a bid valued at $630 million on the table to take it private.
Only the non-Alden shareholders can vote, and the takeover requires a two thirds vote to pass. Soon-Shiong owns 24 percent of the Tribune stock and no takeover deal can succeed unless he votes yes.
The deadline for votes to be cast is 10 am Central Daylight Time.
Journalists at Tribune papers from the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and Hartford Courant and elsewhere rallied against the Alden takoever bid in cities across the country last Saturday. They were hoping hotel mogul Stewart Bainum, who wants to buy the Baltimore Sun, would find enough other backers to join him to top Alden’s $17.25a share offer.
A spokeswoman for the LA Times which Soon-Shiong paid $500 million to acquire along with the San Diego Union Tribune and some weekly papers from Tribune publishing in 2018, said he expected to announce his decision Friday morning.