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Chicago’s storied Sun-Times newspaper sold, for a song

Edwin Eisendrath | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Chicago, United States | AFP |  The Chicago Sun-Times, the city’s oldest continuously published daily and winner of eight Pulitzer prizes, has been sold to an investor group, reportedly for $1.

The newspaper, which traces its history to 1844, reported Thursday it was purchased by an investment group led by former Chicago alderman Edwin Eisendrath and a coalition of labor unions.

The Sun-Times provided no details, but the rival Chicago Tribune and other media reported the sale was concluded for $1.

Earlier this year the Tribune’s parent company Tronc offered to buy the Sun-Times. But the deal faced opposition from the Justice Department, which argued it would create a monopoly of the two major dailies in Chicago.

Although this week’s agreement was concluded for $1, the investors needed to come up with $11.2 million to keep operating, the Sun-Times reported.

The deal underscores the deep woes of the once-profitable US newspaper sector, where values have plunged over the past two decades amid a shift of readers to online platforms.

The current owner of the Sun-Times, Wrapports, purchased the daily in 2011 for an estimated $20 million.

According to Poynter Institute media writer James Warren, the Sun-Times owners “concluded taking $1 was better than the $8 million it would cost to shut down the paper.”

Reports said the Sun-Times may be obligated to continue a $25 million annual contract with the rival Tribune for printing operations.

The Sun-Times’ history is traced back to the 1944 Chicago Daily Journal, and the current name resulted from the 1948 merger of the Chicago Sun and Chicago Daily Times.

The paper was home to advice columnist Ann Landers, prize-winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin and movie critic Roger Ebert, among others.

 

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