Michael W. Ferro Jr., the previous chairman of Tronc, has agreed to promote all of his shares within the firm, ending his relationship with the embattled newspaper writer.
Just months in the past, Mr. Ferro had envisioned the corporate, whose publications embody The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and, for the second, The Los Angeles Times, as a media powerhouse with international ambitions. But Mr. Ferro’s determination to promote his shares — representing greater than 25 p.c of the corporate — signifies the additional decline of Tronc. A newsroom rise up at The Times helped result in its pending sale and an identical revolt occurred at The Tribune, whose journalists went public this week with a unionization effort.
Tronc’s chairman, Justin Dearborn, despatched an e-mail to staff on Friday saying that the transfer was a “non-public transaction” and didn’t alter “our enterprise technique” or the pending sale of the California News Group, which incorporates The San Diego Union-Tribune and smaller publications, together with The Times.
Negotiations over the sale of The Times, to Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire medical entrepreneur, have dragged however the deal continues to be anticipated to be accomplished within the coming weeks. Dr. Soon-Shiong addressed The Times newsroom in particular person for the primary time on Friday, and staff expressed optimism about his pending possession.
According to a regulatory submitting on Friday, Mr. Ferro agreed to promote greater than 9 million shares in Tronc to McCormick Media at a value of $23 a share. The transaction is price greater than $208 million. According to The Tribune, the client is said to the McCormick household, one in every of Chicago’s outstanding households and a longtime steward of the newspaper.
Mr. Ferro turned Tronc’s chairman and largest shareholder two years in the past, after shopping for a stake within the firm, then referred to as Tribune Publishing, price $44 million. Soon afterward, he overhauled the senior government ranks and reshaped the corporate’s board so majority was allied with him. Mr. Ferro stepped down last month simply hours earlier than the publication of a report through which two girls accused him of inappropriate sexual advances.
In promoting The Times, Tronc is dropping its crown jewel and a linchpin in Mr. Ferro’s technique, which included opening bureaus in Lagos and Rio de Janeiro. But over the previous 12 months, the paper turned a thorn in Tronc’s facet. In August, Tronc ousted prime members of The Times’ administration crew and put in Ross Levinsohn, a former Yahoo government, as writer and Lewis D’Vorkin, a former chief product officer at Forbes, as editor in chief.