Two of the potential bidders for Tribune Publishing are joining forces. Will Wyatt, the former Starboard hedge fund manager who formed the Donerail Group, is teaming up with AIM Media, headed by former Chicago Sun-Times and Dallas Morning News executive Jeremy Halbreich.
They’re now jointly pursuing Tribune Publishing, formerly know as Tronc, which counts the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and the struggling New York Daily News among its holdings.
H. Ross Perot, a billionaire and former independent presidential candidate in the ’90s, is among the backers of that bid, my colleague Josh Kosman learned. Perot teamed up earlier with Halbreich and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as they expanded AIM Media to include newspapers in Texas, Ohio, and West Virginia. Neither Halbreich nor Wyatt could be reached for comment.
They are squaring off against the only other suitor still in the hunt, The McClatchy Co., owner of the Miami Herald, Kansas City Star, Sacramento Bee and other newspapers.
Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon Shiong still controls about 25 percent of the stock of Tribune Publishing and originally talked with the Donerail Group about a joint bid. He then talked to McClatchy but now is said to be on the sidelines, aligned with neither. He is said to be facing new problems with a declining print and digital audience, in LA.
McClatchy’s stock tumbled 4.8 percent, to close at $6.38, on Tuesday. Tribune Publishing dipped 1.3 percent, to finish at $14.02.