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Tribune Publishing deal to sell itself to McClatchy is off

Tribune Publishing deal to sell itself to McClatchy is off
A bundle of Chicago Tribune newspapers comes off the press in 2016. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)

Tribune Publishing Co. has terminated negotiations to sell itself to fellow newspaper company McClatchy Co., a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The decision, reached by the Tribune Publishing board Thursday, followed several months of negotiations with McClatchy. The source said potential antitrust issues in Florida — where McClatchy owns the Miami Herald and Tribune Publishing owns the nearby Sun-Sentinel — ultimately derailed a deal between the two companies.

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Putting both those newspapers under the McClatchy corporate umbrella would have created economic synergies important to the deal, but there were concerns it wouldn’t pass muster with federal regulators, multiple sources said.

Tribune Publishing spokeswoman Marisa Kollias and McClatchy spokeswoman Jeanne Segal both declined to comment Thursday.

Chicago-based Tribune Publishing counts the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and New York Daily News among its 10 newspapers. Formerly known as Tronc, the company sold off the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune this year.

Sacramento-based McClatchy, which owns more than 30 newspapers in 14 states, emerged as a potential buyer in September. It was among three suitors to submit a formal bid by Tribune Publishing’s deadline of Nov. 1.

The other bidders are New York investment firm Donerail and Dallas-based newspaper group Aim Media. Both of those bids remain on the table, the source said.

Tribune Publishing shares fell 1.5% on Thursday to $13.58. McClatchy shares climbed 6.5% to $8.

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