WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division released a statement on July 12 after closing its case examining the potential acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times by tronc Inc., the owner of the Chicago Tribune.
“On May 15, 2017, the Antitrust Division announced that it was investigating the possible acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times by tronc because the merger of the two daily newspapers in Chicago would raise significant antitrust concerns,” the DOJ said in a statement.
The division specifically examined whether the Chicago Sun-Times could be considered a failing company under federal merger guidelines. If a company is deemed as “failing,” it would likely exit the market without a merger, which would then make it unlikely to deem the merger anticompetitive. To be eligible for this criteria, the company must make a good faith effort to sell itself to a reasonable alternative that would keep its tangible and intangible assets in the relevant market and also provide less competition risk than the company it proposed to merge with.
“In this case, Wrapports LLC, the owner of the Chicago Sun-Times, launched a public sale process on May 16, 2017, which the division monitored closely,” the DOJ said. “This process resulted in Wrapports selling the Chicago Sun-Times to an alternative buyer, ST Acquisition Holdings LLC, which does not currently own an interest in any other newspaper. As a result, the division will be closing its investigation of the possible acquisition of the Chicago Sun-Times by tronc.”