Done deal: Knight begins new day for Sun-Times
Mon Dec 26 2011
Readers shouldn’t notice any immediate changes to the Chicago Sun-Times now that ownership of the newspaper’s parent company has officially been transferred, according to knowledgeable insiders.
On Monday, Chicago-based technology and communications company Wrapports LLC closed on its acquisition of Sun-Times Media Holdings. The deal, announced last Wednesday, reportedly was worth more than $20 million.
No Champagne corks were popped or cigars fired up to mark the event. In fact, there was no ceremony at all. Befitting the digital future planned for the company, the closing was handled largely electronically and became official at midnight. Each of the 13 investors was with his own family for the holidays, a spokesman said.
With that move, under chairman Michael Ferro Jr. and CEO Timothy Knight, Wrapports assumed ownership of the Sun-Times and seven other daily newspapers, more than 30 weeklies, and more than 40 websites, including RogerEbert.com, CenterstageChicago.com, ToDrive.com and YourSeason.com. Ferro is chairman and CEO of the technology holding company Merrick Ventures, and Knight is former president and CEO of Newsday Media Group.
Monday also marked the end of a 27-month odyssey that began when the late Jim Tyree stepped up to rescue the Sun-Times and steer it out of bankruptcy with the backing of local investors. Tyree's death last March hastened the company's sale.
The new owners are said to have been impressed with the quality and efficiency of the Sun-Times news operation under current publisher John Barron and editor-in-chief Don Hayner. Sources said there are no plans for sweeping changes to the newspaper or its editorial management in the coming weeks.
Over the next few days, Knight is expected to meet with staffers in the various newsrooms to introduce himself and outline his vision for the company.
“Wrapports’ strategy is to invest in and integrate traditional media assets with strategic technology tools,” the company said in a statement Monday. “By introducing cutting-edge technologies, new content portals and other tools, the company expects to deliver richer and more satisfying content to readers, while providing more targeted and measurable promotion options for advertisers.”