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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 15, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 17Dec00

By Kent Larsen

Tribune Loses Attempt To Block Sale

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- US District Court Judge Tena Campbell turned down the Salt Lake Tribune's request that she halt the paper's sale to Denver's MediaNews group. Campbell denied all the Tribune's claims, saying that the evidence did not support the claims. The Tribune said it plans to appeal the ruling to the US 10th Circuit Court as early as Monday.

The ruling is a major setback to the Tribune's attempts to block the sale, which it claims will effectively silence its voice. The Tribune's managers have sought to buy back the newspaper from AT&T Corp., but were frustrated when AT&T decided instead to sell the newspaper to MediaNews Group on December 1st. The Tribune claims that AT&T failed to sell the newspaper to the Tribune managers because of pressure from the Deseret News, which wanted a more agreeable partner in its Joint Operating Agreement. The Tribune and the News have been unable to agree on how much the News will pay to switch from afternoon delivery of its newspaper to morning delivery.

In its suit, the Tribune claimed that the sale of the Tribune to MediaNews would limit its voice and that the sale violated AT&T's duty to act in good faith in its obligation to sell the newspaper to them. The Tribune also claimed that the sale was a violation of a preliminary contract to sell the newspaper to the Tribune and a violation of the Tribune's option to buy the paper.

But Campbell said the evidence doesn't support any of these allegations. During the trial MediaNews Group's W. Dean Singleton testified before the court that he would maintain the newspaper's independence. And Tribune Chief Operating Officer Randy Frisch noted that Singleton promised to honor the Tribune's management contract to operate the newspaper, "He said he would honor the management agreement and we're taking him at his word and if not, we'll take him to court."


Breaking news: Federal judge rejects effort to block Tribune sale
Deseret News (AP) 15Dec00 B4
Associated Press


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