Swiss billionaire joins bidding for Tribune Publishing

The octagonal Swiss billionaire, who has made his home in Wyoming and donated hundreds of millions for environmental reasons, is a newcomer to the Tribune Publishing bid, a newspaper chain that recently decided to end up in New York’s hands. Hedge fund.

Former chief executive of medical device maker Synthes, Hansjerg Wise (pronounced Hans-York Weiss), said in an interview on Friday that he was married to Maryland hotelier Stuart W. Benam Jr. agreed to join Tribune Publishing’s bid. of Fur which could support Alden Global Capital’s plan to take full ownership of the company.

Mr Weiss, who has done his part to help save wildlife habitats in Wyoming, Montana and Maine, said he was motivated to join the Tribune bid because of his belief in the need for a strong press. “Now I have the opportunity to do 500 times more than I do,” he said.

Alden, who already owns about 32 percent of Tribune Publishing shares, is known for cutting costs by controlling newspapers through a subsidiary of his MediaUse Group. Last month, the hedge fund signed an agreement with the Tribune, whose documents include the Daily News, The Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune, to buy the remaining shares of the company for 17.25.

Under that plan, Lifestyle Marylander, Mr. Benam, agreed to set up a non-profit group that would buy The Sun and two other Tribune-owned Maryland newspapers from The Alden for 65 65 million. Immediately after that agreement was reached, negotiations between Mr. Benam and Alden stalled. He suggested that Mr. Benham, chairman of Choice Hotels International, one of the world’s largest hotel chains, bid ઓફ 18.50 a share for the Tribune on March 16, beating Alden’s number.

The value of that bid company is about 50 650 million. The Alden Agreement is valued at approximately ટ 630 million.

The Tribune was not enthralled by Mr. Benam’s fur. In the securities filed Tuesday, the company’s board recommended that shareholders approve Alden’s bid. At the same time, the Tribune Board approached Mr. Benham for credit for his higher bid.

He has done so by ticking with Mr. Wise, who said in an interview that he plans to own the company’s flagship paper while he and Mr. Benam will hire assistants for seven other metro dailies of the Tribune, including Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Currant. .

“He made that bid because he wanted the Baltimore Sun,” Mr. Wise said, referring to Mr. Benam. “I said, ‘Yes, that’s fine. And I want to make this tribune even better than it is now. ”

The agreement between Mr. Wise and Mr. Benam is non-binding, Mr. Wise said. He added that he had come together in recent days and was detailed in a letter he sent to Mr Benam on Friday. A person with knowledge of the discussions between Mr. Wise and Mr. Benam confirmed that everyone plans to place $ 100 million for a bid of 6 50,650 million, and Mr. Wise said he would be prepared to provide additional funding for the debt money.

Mr Benam declined to comment. A spokesman for the Tribune’s three board members did not ally with Alden. Alden’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A decade ago, Mr. Wise led the sale of syntheses to Johnson and Johnson for only about 20 20 billion. Mr. Wise and his family – a daughter, Amy, also lives in Wyoming – had the largest stake in Synthesis, with about half the shares.

The Tribune’s sale, which the newspaper company expects to complete by July, needs regulatory approval and has two-thirds of the votes from shareholders in the non-Alden stock. Medical entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns the Los Angeles Times with his wife, Michelle B. Chan, owns enough shares in the Tribune to squash the Alden deal. Dr. Sun-Shiong declined to comment on Saturday.

Mr. Wise said he would be a Chicago Tribune civil rights holder. “I don’t want to see another newspaper that gets a chance to increase the amount of truth being told to the American people going down the drain.”

Alden’s possible acquisition on the Tribune’s papers has been strongly opposed by many journalists. Alden has aggressively slashed costs in several media group publications, including the Denver Post and The San Jose Mercury News. Critics say the hedge fund sacrifices the quality of journalism for more profit, while Alden argues that it saves papers that will join the thousands that have gone out of business in the last two decades.

Mr. Wise, Wy, said he was inspired to join Mr. Benham through a New York Times opinion piece last year in which two Chicago Tribune reporters, David Jackson and Gary Marks, warned that Alden’s purchase would lead to a “ghost version”. A newspaper that will no longer be able to carry out its essential oversight mission. Since the article was published, both journalists have left the paper.

Mr. Wise, born in Bern, first visited the United States in 1958 as an exchange student, working for the Colorado Highway Department. He was a journalist as a young man, he said, covering skiing for Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the While at Howard Business School, Zurich was filing a dissertation on American sports on a paper called Durn Bund.

He said he believes the Chicago Tribune will prosper under his ownership.

“Maybe I’m naive,” Mr. Wise said, but the combination of giving enough money to a business employee to do the right thing and putting some money into digital will ultimately make it a very profitable newspaper. “