Tribune Publishing buys U-T San Diego for $85 million; deal doesn’t include real estate

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Austin Beutner, publisher of Tribune Publishing’s Los Angeles Times, says the Times and U-T San Diego will remain separate brands and have their own newsrooms. They will share some editorial content, though, “when doing so can best serve readers.”

Do it: Tribune is considering bringing back the Union-Tribune name.

* Tribune Publishing buys U-T San Diego for $85 million (utsandiego.com)
* Doug Manchester bought the paper for $110 million in 2011 (chicagotribune.com)
* U-T editor: “There will be some savings – which, unfortunately, is another way of saying layoffs” (latimes.com)
* “This big consolidation likely won’t be the last in the region” (niemanlab.org)

The memos are after the jump.

From: Beutner, Austin M
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2015 4:04 PM
To: !!All_LATMG
Subject: San Diego

Colleagues—

It’s my pleasure to announce Tribune Publishing Company has agreed to acquire the San Diego Union-Tribune. When the transaction closes, I will be the Publisher of the Union-Tribune in addition to the Los Angeles Times. We will plan to welcome the Union-Tribune, our neighbors to the south, to the newly formed California News Group, for which I will serve as Publisher and CEO.

This is an important and transformative step in our mission to lead the California conversation and provide trusted independent journalism. The Union-Tribune, which traces its roots back 146 years, has a distinguished history, having won four Pulitzer Prizes between 1979 and 2009. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with “the Plymouth of the West,” San Diego is considered the birthplace of California; it is the second-largest city in the state and eighth largest in the country.

The Union-Tribune will continue to be a destination for trusted journalism delivering essential news, analysis and commentary that engages all viewpoints. I also know the Los Angeles Times will benefit with a closer connection to its older sibling down south.
Please join me in welcoming our colleagues in San Diego to our California conversation.

Austin

To the U-T San Diego staff:

Colleagues—

It’s my pleasure to announce that Tribune Publishing Co. has agreed to acquire The San Diego Union-Tribune. When the transaction closes, I will be the publisher of the Union-Tribune in addition to the Los Angeles Times. We will plan to welcome the Union-Tribune, our neighbors to the south, to the newly formed California News Group, for which I serve as publisher and CEO.

Today begins a new era at The San Diego Union-Tribune and a recommitment to providing independent journalism.

The Union-Tribune, which traces its roots back 146 years, has a distinguished history and long tradition of providing a great service to both its readers and advertisers, and that will not change. Over generations, talented journalists have dedicated themselves to engaging and informing this community – and won four Pulitzer Prizes in the process.

In joining efforts with your neighbors to the north, the Union-Tribune will become an integral part of the California News Group. As such, the Union-Tribune will continue to be a destination for trusted journalism, delivering essential news, analysis and commentary that engages all viewpoints. I also know the Los Angeles Times will benefit from a closer connection to its older sibling down south.

As we begin this new era, we will be trying new things. We’ll be looking for ways to benefit from our size and scale, while fiercely protecting the local, independent editorial voice. Some things will work; some won’t, but we’ll learn from all of them. The ultimate aim is to ensure that the Union-Tribune is around 146 years from now. And I hope we can also have a bit of fun along the way.

I look forward to working with you.
Austin Beutner

Publisher and CEO
California News Group

From Tribune Publishing’s CEO:

From: Jack Griffin
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2015 5:06 PM
Subject: Tribune Publishing Agrees to Acquire San Diego Union-Tribune

Dear Colleagues:

Our Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire San Diego Union-Tribune, the Pulitzer Prize-winning brand, and its collection of community print and digital properties in Southern California. This will be a transformative acquisition for our Company and for the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

When the transaction closes, Austin Beutner, Publisher & CEO of the Los Angeles Times, will oversee the newly created California News Group and serve as Publisher & CEO of San Diego Union-Tribune.

The agreement to purchase the San Diego Union-Tribune and its related properties is the latest in a series of acquisitions, including the October purchase of the 38 daily and weekly suburban-Chicago titles, which are now part of the Chicago Tribune Media Group.

This expansion in Southern California, combined with our growing footprint in Illinois and last year’s acquisitions in Maryland and Connecticut, underscores the importance of our presence in local communities and the value of our premium journalism.

Please join me in congratulating Austin and the management team at the Los Angeles Times Media Group on achieving this important milestone for our Company. The Los Angeles Times team was supported by numerous employees across Tribune Publishing and we extend our appreciation to them as well.

Please see the attached press release for more details.

Thank you for your continued dedication to the success of Tribune Publishing Company.

Best regards,

Jack Griffin


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