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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended January 05, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 03Jan01

By Kent Larsen

After FTC Approves, Salt Lake Tribune Sale Completed

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Despite many attempts by the management of the Salt Lake Tribune to block its sale, Denver-based Media News Group completed its acquisition of the Tribune yesterday, following the approval of the sale by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The commission reviewed the sale and approved it December 22nd, but only announced the approval on Friday, December 29th.

The transaction ends a month-long battle over the sale that included charges by the Tribune that the LDS Church's Deseret News was behind the sale and the Tribune management's failed court challenge to the sale. However, a lawsuit by the Tribune's management against AT&T and Media News Group continues.

The Federal Trade Commission's approval was necessary for anti-trust reasons and because of the newspaper's Joint Operating Agreement with the Deseret News. Under the agreement, the newspapers share printing, advertising sales and distribution. Much of the dispute centers over control of this agreement, which currently resides with the Tribune's management.

For the moment, the sale will not have a significant effect on either the Tribune or the Newspaper Agency Corporation, the company owned by both the Tribune and Deseret News under their JOA. Media News president Dean Singleton says he will honor the management's contractual right to run the newspaper and will not lay off any employees or managers at the Tribune. "Nobody is losing their job," he said Tuesday.

But Singleton declined to comment on possible changes at the Newspaper Agency Corporation or in the JOA. The approval of the sale led the Deseret News to announce last week that it expects to move to morning publication as early as next June. The move to morning publication was one area of dispute in the JOA, with the Tribune saying that the News would have to pay the entire cost of switching to morning publication and the News claiming that the newspapers should share some of the costs.

Deseret News chairman Glenn Snarr also declined to discuss potential changes to the Newspaper Agency Corp. But the NAC's owners, now the Deseret News and Media News Group, did meet by telephone on Tuesday, apparently without Tribune Publisher Dominic Welch, who also serves as president of the Newspaper Agency Corp board. Both Singleton and Snarr also declined to discuss Welch's role in the NAC.

Meanwhile, Singleton planned to meet with Welch and Tribune Chief Operating Officer Randy Frisch today in order to set up a working relationship. Singleton acknowledges that this may be difficult. "Randy and Dominic may be angry with us, but we're not angry with them," he said.

Frisch says he expects that the newspaper will continue, "We're going to run the Salt Lake Tribune just as we have for three and a half years. If there is a problem and Mr. Singleton doesn't see it that way, we can have the court help us figure it out. I continue to wonder why he would want to own a newspaper he has no right to manage and must sell next year." But Singleton indicated in last month's court hearing that he expects to own the newspaper for a long time. If he is, in the end, required to sell after July 2002, he expects to make a good profit.


Managers Say They Run Tribune Despite Sale
Salt Lake Tribune 3Jan01 B4
By Kristen Moulton: Salt Lake Tribune

MediaNews buys Utah's largest newspaper
Raleigh NC News &Observer (AP) 2Jan01 B4
Associated Press

Deseret News Plans for Morning Publication
Editor &Publisher 28Dec00 B4
By Lucia Moses
Paper Hopes To Switch By September

Sale of Salt Lake Tribune OK'd
Denver CO Post 30Dec00 B4
By Denver Post Staff and Wire Reports

FTC Approves Sale of Salt Lake Tribune
Fox News (AP) 29Dec00 B4
Associated Press

Regulators Clear Sale Of Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune 29Dec00 B4
By Kristen Moulton: Salt Lake Tribune

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