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Tronc, the company formerly known as Tribune Publishing, has failed in its bid to buy the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Reader.

Instead, a group of investors, including the Chicago Federation of Labor, purchased the publisher of the two papers, maintaining its independence of one of the largest media conglomerates in the nations:

In the end, one man made all the difference.

Edwin Eisendrath, the former Chicago alderman who ran losing campaigns for governor and congressman earlier in his career, just won the most unlikely challenge he’d ever undertaken: He kept the Chicago Sun-Times independent and out of the clutches of Chicago Tribune owner tronc. “It was bashert,” Eisendrath told me, using the Yiddish word for “destiny.” How else to explain the odds he overcame to make it happen?

On Wednesday, Eisendrath and a coalition of labor unions and individual investors closed on the purchase of the daily Sun-Times and the alternative weekly Chicago Reader from Wrapports Holdings LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources said the key was securing more than $11.2 million in escow to cover projected operating losses over the next two years.

“Today’s deal to buy the Sun-Times preserves two independent newspaper voices in Chicago, a rare thing in America these days,” Eisendrath tweeted. “We wanted to make sure that Chicago had a genuine voice with honest and good reporting that connects with working men and women.”

Eight weeks ago it seemed all but certain tronc would take over the Sun-Times in a move that many believed would have stifled competition and led to the inevitable demise of the city’s No. 2 newspaper. All that stood in the way of the deal was the vigilance of the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Alone in answering the Justice Department’s call for alternative bidders was Eisendrath, backed by the Chicago Federation of Labor and a belief that the Sun-Times was too vital to the life of the city to forfeit its independence.

My guess is that the (probably pre-Trump) DoJ call for bidders had a lot to do with Tronc losing the bid, because it implied a lot of litigation if the two big Chicago papers merged.

I’d like to see more official moves against consolidation.

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