Huntsman family to purchase Salt Lake Tribune
(KUTV) The Huntsman family will purchase the Salt Lake Tribune, officials with the newspaper confirmed Wednesday.
The deal comes after lengthy negotiations between Digital First Media executives and Paul Huntsman, son of Jon Huntsman Sr., the Tribune reports.
The Tribune, headquartered in downtown Salt Lake City, has covered local and national news, entertainment, sports and weather for the state of Utah since 1871.
"We are honored to be stewards of The Salt Lake Tribune," said Paul Huntsman, who cited the importance that the Tribune remain locally owned. "We hope to ensure the Tribune's independent voice for future generations and are thrilled to own a business of this quality and stature."
Earlier this month, Sen. Jim Dabakis (D-Salt Lake City) said five people - including himself - were actively pursuing the purchase of the paper.
Dabakis did not name the other four individuals but described them as "progressive people" with the financial ability to buy the paper.
"These are Utah-based people that are interested in getting return on their money but also understand just how important it is to have a Salt Lake Tribune that's viable," Dabakis said.
Earlier efforts by the Huntsman family to buy the Tribune fell apart in November 2015, with indications that another buyer with strong ties to Utah had emerged.
Last year, attorney Karra Porter said a potential buyer would have to be approved by owners of the Deseret News, the Tribune's competitor. Porter was representing Citizens for Two Voices, a group that had taken legal action to save the Salt Lake Tribune from financial doom.
At the time, Porter said she had no idea what criteria would satisfy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the Deseret News.
A joint operating agreement between the Deseret News and the Tribune gives the LDS church the power to veto any buyer for the Trib.
Citizens for Two Voices alleges that in 2013, the Salt Lake Tribune's new owner Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund from New York, was paid more than $15 million by the Deseret News to renegotiate the long-standing joint operating agreement between the two papers.