It’s nearly a done deal.
On Thursday, U.S. bankruptcy judge Christopher Sontchi approved the sale of the Sun-Times Media Group to STMG Holdings LLC, led by James Tyree. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the judge’s OK of the sale on its Web site.
The total transaction is expected to close by the end of October 2009. Tyree’s group offered about $25 million, including $5 million in cash and about $20 million in liabilities, to purchase the publisher of the Sun-Times and its more than 50 sibling papers.
Tyree’s bid came with a request for substantial pay cuts and other concessions from 16 unions. Fourteen of them approved the concessions after negotiations between union and company leaders. “Personally, I have a singular focus to create success for everybody. … I’m looking forward to an opportunity where tears can turn into laughter and success,” he told the paper.
“People understood what needed to be done. They did it,” Chicago Newspaper Guild Executive Director Tom Thibeault told the Sun-Times. “This agreement needs to have a lot of trust. Trust in management. Trust in Mr. Tyree. … And trust in our people that we can work together.”
“This is a very good day for our award-winning newspapers and Web sites, for our incredibly dedicated and hard-working employees and for the Chicago community at large,” Jeremy L. Halbreich, Sun-Times Media Group Chairman of the Board and Interim CEO, said in a statement. “I’m absolutely pleased that we were able to achieve these goals with the investors in STMG Holdings, LLC in such a timely manner.”
Sun-Times Media filed for bankruptcy protection in March, citing $479 million in assets and $801 million in debt.