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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Tronc buys Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk

By Robert Channick Chicago Tribune

Tronc has acquired the Virginian-Pilot newspaper from Landmark Media Enterprises for $34 million, the Chicago-based newspaper chain announced Tuesday.

The deal adds the Norfolk-based newspaper – the largest in Virginia – to the Tronc portfolio, along with specialty publications and a printing plant. Tronc has long owned the nearby Daily Press in Newport News, Va.

“The inclusion of The Virginian-Pilot further strengthens our presence in the region and renews our commitment to our longstanding tradition of journalistic excellence,” said Justin Dearborn, Tronc chairman and CEO, in a news release.

Founded in 1865, the Virginian-Pilot is a Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper with a Sunday circulation of 132,000 as of last year, according to Tronc, which is also acquiring 460,000 square feet of real estate, including the newspaper’s Norfolk headquarters and printing facilities in Virginia Beach.

“In order to most effectively continue its important work, The Virginian-Pilot must have the benefit of the resources of a large organization,” Rusty Friddell, executive vice president and general counsel of Landmark Media Enterprises, said in the news releases.

Nancy Meyer, Tronc’s regional manager, will oversee integration efforts of the acquisition, working with local leaders at both the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press, the company said. Former Tronc parent company, Tribune Co. (now Tribune Media), bought the Daily Press for $200 million in 1986. In 2014, Tribune Co. bought the Capital in Annapolis and the Carroll County Times, both of Maryland, for nearly $30 million from Landmark, expanding the reach of the company’s Baltimore Sun.

Tronc also owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News and other major daily newspapers.

In February, Tronc agreed to sell the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million, and in April newly formed investor group McCormick Media said it would acquire the entire 25 percent stake of former Tronc chairman Michael Ferro for $208.6 million. Neither deal has closed.