A union-backed bid to buy the Chicago Sun-Times is moving forward, according to sources involved in the deal.
Wrapports, which owns the newspaper, had given the union-backed group a Monday deadline to put “north of $11 million” in an escrow account, according to Bill Brandt, a restructuring expert and one of the private investors on board with the bid.
“The money is there,” Brandt said late Monday. “I believe there will be a transfer of ownership.”
That money is not the sale price of the paper, Brandt said.
“The real issue was what does it take to make sure that you can operate the paper and pay off its obligations in the future,” he said.
Brandt wouldn’t confirm that the actual selling price was a dollar, as has been previously reported, but he said he “wouldn’t quibble” with a statement “that the actual consideration for the sale was nominal. Clearly, however, you put yourself in a position to have to deal with millions of dollars and assumed liabilities and losses.”
Brandt said the members of the investor group were roughly evenly split between unions and individual investors, whom he said were largely motivated by a sense of civic duty.
“It’s a money-losing operation,” he said. “Chicago’s a big enough city where it really demands two opposing newspapers.”
Brandt wouldn’t name the other investors. Among unions, only the Chicago Federation of Labor had confirmed its involvement, as has former Chicago Ald. Edwin Eisendrath.
Robert Reiter, the treasurer for the Chicago Federation of Labor, on Monday said, “We continue to meet our obligations to move forward with the deal. I can confirm that we’ve raised in excess of $11.2 million.”
In May, the paper announced it was negotiating a sale to the Chicago Tribune’s parent company, tronc.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice asked for a pause in that process to allow other bidders to come forward.
Sun-Times publisher Jim Kirk declined to comment on Monday.
The original version of this story incorrectly stated that a second union had previously acknowledged its role in the deal.”