The owners of The Tampa Tribune have sold the newspaper and its related publications to the Tampa Bay Times. The transaction gives readers and advertisers in the Tampa Bay region a locally owned newspaper on solid financial footing.
The Times will honor all Tribune subscriptions and advertising agreements. Starting Wednesday, May 4, Tribune subscribers will receive the Times, which will carry all the advertising for both newspapers and continue to provide the most comprehensive news report about the region and the state.
To honor the Tribune’s history and place in the community, the Tribune banner will be on the Times’ local news sections published in Hillsborough County on Friday and Sunday, similar to the way the newspaper uses St. Pete Times on its local section in that city. Both newspapers’ websites – tampabay.com and TBO.com – also will be maintained.
“The continued competition between the two newspapers was threatening to both,” said Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash. “There are very few cities that can sustain more than one daily newspaper, and the Tampa Bay region is not among them.”
During its 131-year history, the Times has grown to become Florida’s largest newspaper because it had found an audience throughout the Tampa Bay region.
In 1987, the Times – then called the St. Petersburg Times – launched its Tampa edition and expanded its coverage. In 2012, the newspaper changed its name to the Tampa Bay Times to reflect its reach throughout the region.
In February, the Times began printing all editions of the Tribune, its affiliate publications—including Centro, Highlands Today, and The Suncoast News—and its commercial printing customers, the New York Post and the MacDill Thunderbolt, a weekly newspaper devoted to news about MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
“It’s fair to say we’ve seen this day coming for a very long time,” Tash added. “To all the Tribune customers, we say welcome. We call ourselves Florida’s Best Newspaper not to brag, but as a commitment to our readers and advertisers.”
Based on sales of printed copies, the acquisition makes the Times the fifth largest Sunday newspaper in the country.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The Times was represented by Guggenheim Securities investment bankers and Baker & McKenzie law firm. Financing was provided by Crystal Financial of Boston. “We are very proud of the Tampa Bay Times team who worked diligently to insure the continuance and prominence of their journalistic excellence,” said Crystal CEO Ward Mooney.
The Times will remain independent and owned locally by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a school for journalists and media leaders based in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Times will keep its current offices, including those in Tampa and St. Petersburg.