It looks like Michael W. Ferro is heading back to his home planet.
In news which can only be construed as positive, major tronc shareholder Ferro announced Friday he was selling all his shares in the company to a newly formed trust with ties to the McCormick Family., descendants of Colonel Robert McCormick, who founded the paper in 1847.
McCormick Media, LLC is buying Ferro’s nine million shares of Tronc at $208.6 million or $23 a share. The filing was made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The move comes as tronc may be up for play – a report in Thursday’s New York Post suggests a billionaire with ties to Apollo Global Management is interested in buying the company. Earlier, tronc sold its Los Angeles and San Diego newspapers to tronc shareholder Patrick Soon-Shiong, but the deal has yet to close. In addition to the Chicago Tribune, tronc owns the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, and a few other newspapers.
As for Ferro, the end comes as he completely wrecked not one but TWO hometown papers. In 2011, he became a major investor in the Chicago Sun-Times through his Wrapports company, and in 2016 became the largest shareholder in Tribune Publishing, afterward he renamed it tronc – a name widely ridiculed.
Throughout his tenure at both papers, readership and circulation fell, and the content of both was criticized as Ferro come not come up with an answer to buck the industry’s ongoing woes. His presence alienated a lot of people, especially those in the newsroom of both papers. When he took control of the Sun-Times, Ferro notably wanted the paper to become “The New York Post of the Midwest”.
So six years after this blog said Ferro should go back to his home planet, we’re getting our wish.
So long and thanks for for the fish. Smelly, rotten fish.