The agreement concluded by MM. Wyss and Bainum is non-binding, Mr Wyss said. He added that he has met in recent days and is detailed in a letter he sent to Mr Bainum on Friday. A person familiar with the discussions between Mr Wyss and Mr Bainum confirmed that each man planned to pay $ 100 million for the $ 650 million offer, and Mr Wyss said he would be prepared to provide additional funds for debt financing.
Mr. Bainum declined to comment. A spokesperson for three members of the Tribune board of directors not affiliated with Alden declined to comment. A spokesperson for Alden did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ten years ago, Mr Wyss led the sale of Synthes to Johnson & Johnson for around $ 20 billion. Mr. Wyss and his family – a daughter, Amy, also lives in Wyoming – held the largest stake in Synthes, owning nearly half of the shares.
The sale of Tribune, which the news company hopes to close by July, requires regulatory approval and favorable votes from the company’s shareholders representing two-thirds of the non-Alden shares. Medical entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who owns the Los Angeles Times with his wife, Michele B. Chan, has enough Tribune shares to crush the Alden deal on his own. Dr Soon-Shiong declined to comment on Saturday.
Mr. Wyss said he would be a civic guard for the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t want to see another newspaper that has a chance to increase the amount of truth being told to the American people,” he said.
Alden’s potential acquisition of Tribune has been fiercely opposed by many Tribune newspaper reporters. Alden has aggressively cut costs for many of the MediaNews group’s publications, including The Denver Post and The San Jose Mercury News. Critics say the hedge fund sacrifices journalistic quality for greater profits, while Alden argues that it is saving newspapers that would otherwise join the thousands of people who have gone out of business over the past two decades.
Mr Wyss, 85, said he was partly inspired to join Mr Bainum by a New York Times opinion piece last year in which two Chicago Tribune reporters, David Jackson and Gary Marx, warned that ‘A purchase from Alden would lead to “a ghost version of the Chicago Tribune – a newspaper that can no longer carry out its essential surveillance mission.” Since the publication of this article, the two journalists have left the newspaper.