AP NEWS
ADVERTISEMENT

The Baltimore Sun to be purchased by nonprofit

February 17, 2021 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Sun announced Tuesday that the newspaper and its affiliated publications will be purchased by a nonprofit developed by businessman and philanthropist Stewart Bainum, a move that would place it back in local hands.

The newspaper reported that the sale was made possible by Alden Global Capital’s $630 million deal to acquire full control of Tribune Publishing, which also publishes the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and other major newspapers.

ADVERTISEMENT

As part of the acquisition, the nonprofit Sunlight for All Institute would acquire The Baltimore Sun, The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, The Carroll County Times and several other local weeklies and magazines and affiliated online properties, according to The Sun.

Alden’s deal from Tribune, announced a few hours after the stock market closed Tuesday, would create one of the largest newspaper operators in the U.S. It follows weeks of negotiations between a special committee of Tribune Publishing’s board and Alden, a hedge fund known for cutting costs and eliminating newsroom jobs.

That deal isn’t completed. In its announcement, Tribune Publishing said Alden signed a “non-binding term sheet” to sell The Sun to the nonprofit established by Bainum.

Bainum, 74, made his fortune in hotels and nursing homes. He is chairman of Choice Hotels International, the Rockville, Maryland-based hospitality franchisor for such names as Cambria Hotels, Quality Inn and Econo Lodge.

A lifelong Democrat and one-time politician, Bainum served in the Maryland General Assembly, first as a delegate from 1979 to 1982, then as a senator from 1983 to 1986. Bainum became CEO of ManorCare in 1987. He and his wife, Sandy, joined The Giving Pledge, a campaign seeking commitments by the world’s wealthiest people to contribute most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Others who have made the pledge include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg, CNN founder Ted Turner, MacKenzie Scott, Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens and, notably, biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who acquired the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Tribune from Tribune Publishing for $500 million in 2018 and owns about 24% of Tribune Publishing.