Baltimore developer David S. Cordish said Monday he still plans to bid on The Baltimore Sun, but only if he can purchase the paper separately from other Tribune Co. newspapers that are expected to be sold within the next few months.
His comments were the latest development in the ongoing saga over future ownership of The Sun, founded May 17, 1837, which could change hands this year.
Reporters and editors in the newsroom at 501 N. Calvert St. have adopted a “business as usual” approach while newspaper owner Tribune Co. is preparing to be sold, said Christopher T. Assaf, an editorial vice chair of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild and a 10-year employee of The Sun.
“After four years of bankruptcy, we are used to hearing so many different things and having so many different things happen,” said Assaf, a Sun video editor. “Our attitude is business as usual. We’ve been through Sam Zell, we’ve been through Times Mirror, we’ve been through bankruptcy. Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it. We’re going to keep doing our jobs and will be willing to work with whoever comes.”
The New York Times reported on Sunday that Charles and David Koch, billionaire owners of Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kan.-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate, were among those interested in purchasing the Tribune newspaper chain, which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orland Sentinel, Hartford Courant, The Sun and others.
After emerging from bankruptcy, Tribune hired JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners to sell its print properties, reported to be worth more than $600 million.
Cordish said that “one of two things” could happen; Tribune could decide not to sell off its newspapers as a package, or the purchaser of that package could decide to “spin off” The Sun to another buyer, Cordish said. He did not respond to questions asking whether he was working solo or with a group of investors.
The Cordish Cos. is the owner of Power Plant Live in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area and Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills mall, the mid-Atlantic’s most successful commercial gambling facility by revenue. The 103-year-old company has developments as far west as Sacramento, Calif.
Robert C. Embry Jr., president of the Abell Foundation and a representative of another group of local investors interested in buying The Sun, said Monday he is regularly monitoring the pending sale of the Tribune Co. His group has yet to receive a prospectus of the company, he said, from JPMorgan Chase and Evercore Partners.
Local ownership of the state’s largest newspaper, Embry said, would be important, but his group was “not going to get into a bidding war with anybody” for the paper.
“At the moment, it’s not in play,” Embry said. “If it ever was up for sale, which it is not, we would see what that person thought about getting rid of The Sun.
“Our interest is to keep The Sun alive and improve it.”
Daily Record business reporter Melody Simmons contributed to this article.