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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Two unlikely billionaires may be close to derailing a massive newspaper deal that would've likely resulted in the loss of hundreds of local journalism jobs across the country.

Driving the news: Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss have reportedly agreed to put up more than $600 million of their own money to help finance a roughly $680 million bid for Tribune Publishing, the parent to many of America's most iconic newspapers.

  • The billionaires' bid, according to the Wall Street Journal, can now be recommended for consideration by Tribune's board to its shareholders over a cheaper bid from private equity giant Alden Global Capital.
  • In February, Alden said it would buy out the remainder of Tribune Publishing, the parent company to the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and other local papers, in a deal valuing Tribune at roughly $630 million.
  • On Sunday, the Journal reported that Bainum and Wyss were able to secure the financing for their bid after originally proposing to put up $200 million of their own dollars. Alden will have four days to come up with a higher bid, or else risk losing the deal, per the Journal.

Be smart: Alden Global Capital is a hedge fund known for cutting journalists at local papers to maximize profits. It has spent years positioning itself as Tribune's presumed buyer, by incrementally increasing its stake in the publicly traded company.

  • The Journal reported that public pleas from Chicago Tribune journalists to save the paper from Alden’s anticipated destruction is what inspired Wyss to make the bid.
  • Last weekend, the New York Times' reported that Wyss was joining Bainum Jr. in his bid for the Tribune papers, with plans to own Chicago Tribune.
  • Bainum Jr. originally said he would buy the Baltimore Sun, the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, and a few other smaller Maryland papers from Tribune for a reported $65 million to spin the news group into a nonprofit.
  • The Journal reports that Bainum Jr. is still planning to spin the Maryland-based papers into nonprofits and out of the control of private trusts.

Between the lines: Other wealthy individuals are apparently eyeing ways to help save their local papers from Alden’s potential takeover.

  • Last week, the Journal reported that a Florida investor named Mason Slaine, who is a minority investor in Tribune, was willing to put up $100 million in the bid for the Tribune being led by Bainum.
  • The WSJ noted Sunday that Slaine is not included in the new bid submitted to Tribune's Board from Bainum and Wyss.
  • Slaine was reportedly eyeing ownership of Tribune's two Florida papers, the Orlando Sentinel and the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Last weekend, the Morning Call, a paper representing Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, that's owned by Tribune Publishing, reported that a Manhattan investor was the mystery bidder behind a $30 million–$40 million offer for the paper.

Go deeper: Billionaires scoop up news outlets as new form of philanthropy.

Go deeper

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.