Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for cutting journalists at local papers to maximize profits, is buying out the remainder of Tribune Publishing, the parent company to the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and other local papers.

Driving the news: With the sale, the two companies also announced that The Baltimore Sun would be acquired by a nonprofit backed by a Maryland-based hotel billionaire.

Why it matters: The deal creates one of the largest local publishing giants in America. Alden already owns hundreds of papers through its majority ownership of MNG (MediaNews Group) Enterprises, known commonly as Digital First Media, which controls papers like the Denver Post and the Boston Herald.

Details: The deal gives Alden 68% of the shares it doesn't already own in the Tribune for roughly $431 million, per The Chicago Tribune — valuing the full company at $630 million.

  • The share price from the merger is up slightly from when the two companies began negotiating last year, with interest in the takeover likely giving it a boost.
  • As a part of the agreement, Alden agreed to sell the Baltimore Sun, The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, and a few other smaller papers, to a nonprofit called the Sunlight for All Institute, a public charity formed by Stewart Bainum Jr., a former Maryland politician and hotel magnate.

Yes, but: Given Alden's history, a takeover is expected to lead to a restructuring that could result in more local news jobs being cut.

  • Tribune newsrooms have been bracing for this moment. Buyouts were offered to Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel journalists in early January of last year, following Alden's increased stake in Tribune in 2019, as Axios reported.

Be smart: The full takeover has been a long time coming.

  • Alden initially took a 25% stake in Tribune in late 2019 from Tribune's largest shareholder Michael Ferro in 2019. It later disclosed a bigger, 32%, stake.
  • It increased its footprint at Tribune in recent months, negotiating for a third seat on Tribune's seven-person board.
  • The negotiation for that board seat meant that Alden had to extend a deal that prevented the hedge fund from increasing its stake in the company, unless there was interest from an outside bidder, until 2021.
  • Tribune has been pushing to offload assets, primarily real estate, to survive the financial headwinds driven by the pandemic.

The big picture: The Tribune takeover is the latest example of a storied local news company being gobbled up by a hedge fund amid a bleak time for local news.

  • Tribune rival McClatchy, home to papers like the Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, was bought by a hedge fund last year as a result of a bankruptcy auction.
  • A study released in 2018 by the University of North Carolina found that newspaper sales, closures and mergers via the seven largest paper investment owners have increased over the past five years. As Axios has previously noted, hedge funds or private equity groups based in big cities are typically responsible for the takeovers.
  • Alden tried to buy out local media company Gannett in 2019, but failed, leaving the parent company to USA Today to merge with rival newspaper giant Gatehouse.

What to watch: The deal, which still requires shareholder approval, is expected to close in Q2 of this year. One of the Tribune's largest shareholders, who has said little publicly about the takeover bid is Patrick Soon-Shiong, who purchased the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune from Tribune in 2018 for $500 million.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Feb 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Gannett, McClatchy team up to sell ads

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Two of the country's biggest local news companies are joining forces to sell national ads to their combined reach of over 300 local communities.

Why it matters: There aren't many great options for Fortune 500 companies to buy ads at the local level without having to transact with hundreds of different outlets individually. This partnership aims to address that problem.

2021 economy boomed at fastest rate in 37 years

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. economy surged ahead with a 6.9% annual growth rate in the final months of 2021 and achieved the strongest growth over an entire calendar year since 1984.

Driving the news: New GDP numbers from the Commerce Department show a remarkable acceleration in economic activity, much faster than the 5.3% growth rate analysts expected.

The Fed isn't the only problem investors are worried about

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Federal Reserve will be raising rates, just as the economy is slowing. The markets hate that.

Why it matters: The ugly start to the stock trading year doesn't just reflect Fed-induced agita — investors are also worried about a growth slowdown.