Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
A nonprofit will acquire The Baltimore Sun, a longtime goal of its employees’ union and local philanthropists.
The sale to what will become The Sunlight For All Institute was made possible by Alden Global Capital’s merger agreement with Tribune Publishing. Alden has signed a non-binding term sheet to sell the paper, Alden and Tribune said in a statement.
The nonprofit is backed by Stewart Bainum Jr., a former state lawmaker and chairman of Choice Hotels International. Bainum previously led HCR Manor Care. Both companies were founded by his father, Stewart Bainum Sr.
Bainum, a Takoma Park resident, served as a state delegate from 1979 to 1983 and a state senator from 1983 to 1987.
He has given heavily to Democratic causes locally and nationally, including more than $600,000 to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and $2 million to the pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country, according to federal campaign finance records. In Maryland, he has donated to the campaigns of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Jamie Raskin, former Rep. John Delaney and Comptroller Peter Franchot.
In 2018, Bainum and his wife, Sandy Bainum, signed onto The Giving Pledge, a pledge by wealthy people to donate a majority of their largesse to charity.
The Baltimore Sun also owns The Capital Gazette, Carroll County Times and a number of local weekly publications, all of which would be included in the sale.
The deal is contingent on the Alden merger’s approval by Tribune shareholders. Alden was already Tribune’s largest shareholder. However, Patrick Soon-Shiong, the second-largest shareholder, has the power to block the deal.
Soon-Shiong bought The Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune from Tribune in 2018.
Founded in 1837 by A.S. Abell, the paper was in local hands until 1986, when it was sold to The Times-Mirror Company. In 2000, Times-Mirror was acquired by The Tribune Company, which spun off its newspapers in 2014. Tribune’s other papers include the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and New York Daily News.
The paper has won 16 Pulitzer Prizes, most recently in 2020 for its coverage of former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s fraudulent sales of “Healthy Holly” children’s books. She is serving a federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax charges.
The Pulitzer Board awarded the Capital Gazette with a special citation in 2019 for their commitment to covering the news in the wake of the 2018 newsroom shooting that left five dead.