Tribune Scraps Sale of Two Dailies to Gannett After Arbitrator’s Ruling

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Tribune Co.’s deal to sell two Connecticut newspapers to Gannett Co. has been scrapped following an arbitrator’s ruling that the sale of The Advocate of Stamford would have violated a union contract, the two companies said Friday.

Tribune said it immediately would begin soliciting new offers for The Advocate and the Greenwich Time — the two smallest of its 11 papers, with a combined circulation of 39,000.

Chicago-based Tribune had announced an agreement with Gannett in March to sell the southern Connecticut papers for $73 million, saying they did not fit its strategic focus on larger publishing and interactive businesses.

But the union representing The Advocate’s 36 reporters and photographers obtained a federal court injunction temporarily blocking the sale, citing Gannett’s plans to not abide by the existing contract. Last month, an arbitrator ruled that the sale could not go through unless the buyer assumed the contract as a condition of the sale, which Gannett declined to do.

Tribune had said it was working since then to resolve the issue with Local 2110 of the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.

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