According to the Wall Street Journal on December 31st “Alden Global Seeks to Buy Tribune Publishing“. “Hedge fund, which owns 32% of the Chicago Tribune publisher, has expressed interest in acquiring the shares it doesn’t own already for $14.25 each

Why is this significant or even a story in Howard County? Well Tribune Publishing owns the Howard County Times (and the Baltimore Sun as well as a number of other news entities across the nation):

What could this mean for Howard County or Baltimore? No one really knows yet…but I did find this information in my Google searches on the topic:

According to one source (one that I know very little about so I am not sure of the validity of this information – “In its offer letter, Alden says that another investor, Maryland businessman Stewart Bainum Jr., has expressed an interest in buying “certain assets” of Tribune as part of a deal. That possibility is worth exploring, Alden says. Bainum is chairman of Choice Hotels International, based in Rockville, Maryland.”

Also according to the New York Times “In the proposal letter to the Tribune board, Mr. Smith of Alden said his company had engaged in conversations with Stewart Bainum Jr., a business executive and onetime politician in Maryland, to gauge his “interest in respect of certain assets of Tribune.”

Here is information about Stewart Bainum Jr. per Choice Hotels website:

Stewart W. Bainum, Jr. has been Chairman of Choice Hotels International since October 1997, and has been affiliated with Choice since 1976. He has overseen its growth from a franchisor of 339 hotels under one brand in the United States to a global enterprise with over 6,900 hotels in more than 40 countries. Bainum also served as chairman and CEO of Manor Care from 1987 to 1998, when it merged with health Care and Retirement Corp. Bainum’s 26-year tenure at Manor Care was distinguished not only by its growth in market value from $12 million to over $3.5 billion and its generation of high average annual shareholder returns, but also by Bainum’s implementation of a customer-focused culture at Manor Care for the benefit of both customers and the company’s 50,000 employees. Bainum founded Somerford Place Corp. in 1998, and Artis Senior Living in 2012, both memory care assisted living companies.

Bainum served with distinction as delegate and as senator in the Maryland General Assembly from 1979 to 1987, where he was a member of each House’s budget and tax committee. Described by Forbes as a “fiscal-minded Democrat,” he was also seen as a strong progressive voice in Annapolis. Bainum’s legislative achievements earned him recognition from the NAACP, Maryland Common Cause and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Bainum has remained active in Democratic politics and in the community, serving as a delegate to the Democratic Conventions in 1984, 1992 and 2008, and serving on the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins University; the University of Maryland Medical System; St. Mary’s College; the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; and Bowdoin College. He is currently a member of both the Real Estate Roundtable and the Board of Advisors of UCLA’s Anderson School of Business.

According to that article on “a reasonable guess is that his target is The Baltimore Sun Media Group“.

The Baltimore Sun, founded in 1837, is the largest daily newspaper in Maryland and owns the Capital Gazette and the Carroll County Times.

Our mission is to deliver the truth every day. We bring you the stories that matter most, written without bias, so you can make informed decisions.

The Sun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism works to protect your interests, help navigate your daily life and tell the stories that connect you with the communities where you live and work.

We are headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, and are part of the Tribune Publishing Company (NASDAQ: TPCO) portfolio.

The Howard County Times is a daily newspaper serving Howard County, Maryland. Founded as a weekly newspaper in 1840, it was acquired by the then-independent local publisher Patuxent Publishing Company in 1978, along with other local papers. The Howard County Times is currently a unit of the Baltimore Sun Media Group and maintains its online news page on The Baltimore Sun website.

This is a story to watch for a while to see how it all plays out.

Scott E