City News ServiceThe Beverly Hills-based private equity firm that has owned The San Diego Union-Tribune since early 2009 today announced that it is selling the 143-year-old newspaper to prominent downtown San Diego hotelier Doug Manchester.
Platinum Equity has signed a definitive agreement to sell the Union-Tribune to MLIM LLC, which is owned by Manchester, according to a joint statement released by the two parties Thursday morning. The selling price was withheld.
“We are very proud of what we have accomplished in San Diego and are grateful to the community for embracing our stewardship of the Union-Tribune,” said Platinum Equity’s Louis Samson, who led the firm’s acquisition of the newspaper in May 2009.
Since acquiring the Union-Tribune, Platinum has installed new management, held several rounds of layoffs, and initiated new advertising and pagination systems, as well as made a push for more youth-friendly digital offerings.
The sell to Manchester is expected to be completed by Dec. 15.
Longtime media executive John Lynch, who has a history of owning radio stations, serves as president and chief executive officer of Manchester’s MLIM LLC.
“We have strong roots in the San Diego community and we are pleased to bring our local perspective and passion for this region to the Union-Tribune,” said Manchester, who owns the Manchester Grand Hyatt on West Harbor Drive.
Print media nationwide have struggled for years with digital competition for readers and advertisers. Currently, the Union-Tribune touts a late week circulation of 261,298 and a Sunday circulation of 293,332, according to the statement released Thursday morning. The newspaper reports that its website — SignOnSanDiego.com — gets almost 27 million page views in a typical month.