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