Chicago's storied Sun-Times newspaper reportedly sold for $1

A sign outside the building that houses the offices of the Chicago Sun Times in Chicago, Illinois.
A sign outside the building that houses the offices of the Chicago Sun Times in Chicago, Illinois. PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO (AFP) - The Chicago Sun-Times, the city's oldest continuously published daily and winner of eight Pulitzer prizes, has been sold to an investor group, reportedly for US$1 (S$1.40).

The newspaper, which traces its history to 1844, reported on Thursday (July 13) that it had been purchased by an investment group led by former Chicago alderman Edwin Eisendrath and a coalition of labour unions.

The Sun-Times provided no details, but the rival Chicago Tribune and other media reported the sale was concluded for US$1.

Earlier this year, the Tribune's parent company Tronc offered to buy the Sun-Times. But the deal faced opposition from the US Justice Department, which argued it would create a monopoly of the two major dailies in Chicago.

Although this week's agreement was concluded for US$1, the investors needed to come up with US$11.2 million to keep the paper operating, the Sun-Times reported.

The deal underscores the deep woes of the once-profitable US newspaper sector, where values have plunged over the past two decades amid a shift of readers to online platforms.

The owner of the Sun-Times, Wrapports, purchased the daily in 2011 for an estimated US$20 million.

According to Poynter Institute media writer James Warren, the Sun-Times owners "concluded taking US$1 was better than the US$8 million it would cost to shut down the paper".

Reports said the Sun-Times may be obligated to continue a US$25 million annual contract with the rival Tribune for printing operations.

The Sun-Times' history can be traced back to the 1844 Chicago Daily Journal, and the current name resulted from the 1948 merger of the Chicago Sun and Chicago Daily Times.

The paper was home to advice columnist Ann Landers, prize-winning cartoonist Bill Mauldin and movie critic Roger Ebert, among others.