By: Mark Fitzgerald
In an agreement worked out in a federal judge’s chambers between MediaNews Group Inc. and the family group fighting to take back ownership of The Salt Lake Tribune, Management Planning Inc. will make the critical third valuation in a process that has produced two widely divergent prices for Utah’s largest daily newspaper.
Princeton, N.J.-based Management Planning’s valuation will be averaged with the closer of the previous appraisals to determine the final price for the Tribune.
An appraiser for the McCarthey family’s Salt Lake Tribune Publishing Co. (SLTPC), which has a disputed option to buy back the paper it sold in 1997, valued the paper at $218 million, while an appraiser for current owner MediaNews Group valued it at $380 million.
Whatever the final price, litigation will follow: A federal judge has ruled the Tribune‘s joint-operating-agency partner, The Deseret News, can veto a SLTPC purchase, which it has. SLTPC’s appeal of that ruling is to be heard next month.