The publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, Sun-Times Media, is being sold to a local investment group led by Merrick Ventures LLC CEO Michael Ferro Jr., the newspaper reported late Wednesday evening.
Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed, but Sun-Times cited an unnamed source saying the company sold for more than $20 million. The sale is expected to close within the next several days, the publisher told the paper.
Other investors joining Ferro will include prominent investment bankers John Canning Jr. and Michael Sacks, along with William Beau Wrigley Jr., whose family formerly governed the Wrigley gum company.
The new CEO of the company will be Timothy Knight, who formerly served as the publisher of Melville, N.Y.-based Newsday. Knight will also join as an investor.
Knight told the Sun-Times that the printed paper will remain important for the foreseeable future. However, he plans to focus heavily on using technology to connect with both its readers and advertisers.
This isn't a newspaper acquisition, Knight said. This is the creation of a technologically-enabled content company. The platform, the brands that the Sun-Times has across Chicagoland are outstanding and unmatched.
Like most newspapers, the Sun-Times and its parent company have fallen on difficult times in recent years as readers have moved away from a print product to receiving content online. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and costs were cut dramatically across the company. In order to save money, the Sun-Times now shares a printing press with the other Chicago metropolitan daily, the Chicago Tribune.
The Sun-Times in December introduced a paywall on its website. Readers receive 20 free page views free for a month until they are asked to digitally subscribe, which costs $6.99 a month.
In addition to the Sun-Times, the parent company also owns approximately 40 other suburban newspapers in the Chicago metropolitan area.