The New York Daily News, a tabloid newspaper that “for decades set the city’s agenda with its gossip, sports and city coverage,” has been sold for $1 and the assumption “of operational and pension liabilities,” report The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
The Times reports that the pension liabilities of the Daily News could be “worth more than $30 million.”
The new owner is Tronc, the oddly named proprietor of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and a number of other newspapers. Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, stands for Tribune Online Content.
Tribune was the original owner of the Daily News when it was first published in 1919.
The Times notes that the seller of the modern Daily News, real estate magnate Mortimer B. Zuckerman, bought the paper in 1993 for $36 million.
The Times adds: “The News once boasted A-list columnists including Liz Smith, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill, but it has been worn down by a grinding tabloid war with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled New York Post. And like the rest of the newspaper industry, The News has been battered and bruised by the Internet age, when the equivalent of pithy headlines — a staple of The News — come a mile a minute on Twitter.
“… But while The News wields less influence than it once did, it still has the power to resonate in the city and beyond. This year, the paper and ProPublica shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service for a series on the New York Police Department’s widespread abuse of eviction rules. And its pointed headlines, particularly about President Trump — a longtime real estate rival of Mr. Zuckerman — still attract attention, particularly on social media.”
Notes the Tronc-owned Chicago Tribune: “In March 2016, Tronc was the top bidder for the bankrupt Orange County Register in California, but Justice Department antitrust concerns over the Register’s proximity to the Tronc-owned Los Angeles Times thwarted the deal. And newspaper chain Gannett, publisher of USA Today and more than 100 other titles, abandoned a contentious and unsolicited six-month pursuit of Tronc in November.
“Acquiring The Daily News comes less than a month after Tronc’s unsuccessful attempt to purchase the Chicago Sun-Times, which was acquired in early August by an investment group led by former Chicago Ald. Edwin Eisendrath and labor unions, among others.”
The majority of Tronc is owned by media mogul Michael Ferro Jr.