CHICAGO (CBS) — The sale of the Chicago Sun-Times is a done deal.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, a group of investors led by Chicago technology entrepreneur Michael Ferro Jr. and Timothy Knight, former publisher of the Long Island, N.Y., paper Newsday, has completed the Sun-Times Media Group, including its suburban papers.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
The value of the acquisition of the Sun-Times by Wrapports LLC has been pegged at more than $20 million.
With the purchase finalized, Knight becomes the chief executive officer of the Sun-Times.
Sun-Times Media filed for bankruptcy in March 2009 and was led out of bankruptcy later that year by an investment group headed by Mesirow Financial president James Tyree.
Tyree died in March at the age of 53.
While the newspaper has slashed costs and cut dozens of staff positions, the Sun-Times won a Pulitzer Price earlier this year for local reporting.
The business side of the of the Sun-Times has a long and colorful history, going back to 1983, when the Marshall Field family sold the paper to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The move prompted the legendary Mike Royko to defect to the Tribune the following year, and remark that “no self-respecting fish would want to be wrapped in a Murdoch paper.”
In 1986, Murdoch sold the Sun-Times so he could buy WFLD-Channel 32 to launch the Fox TV network. An investor group led by Sun-Times publisher Robert E. Page and New York investment firm Adler & Shaykin took over.
The investor group in turn sold the paper to Hollinger International, a media empire controlled by Canadian businessman Conrad Black, in 1994. Hollinger also owned the Daily Telegraph of London, the Jerusalem Post and hundreds of community papers across this country and Canada.
Black ended up being charged with obstruction of justice and fraud for swindling the company’s shareholders out of $6.1 million.
Black was convicted and sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison in 2007. He was released on an appeals bond after the U.S. Supreme threw out his honest services fraud conviction, but was sent back to prison for 13 months earlier this year on a remaining conviction of fraud by theft.
In one of the newest developments, the Sun-Times earlier this month took its Web site behind a pay wall. While access to Sun-Times articles on the Web used to be free, now, Web users may only view the pages of the Sun-Times and its affiliated suburban newspapers every 30 days.
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