Alden Global Capital
|Privately held company|
|Founder||Randall D. Smith|
885 3rd Ave No. 34
New York City 10022
Number of employees
Alden Global Capital is a hedge fund based in Manhattan, New York City. It was founded in 2007 by Randall D. Smith. Its managing director is Heath Freeman. It owns 50.1% of Digital First Media, which in turns owns more than 50 daily newspapers throughout the United States.
Through its subsidiary MNG Enterprises (DBA) Digital First Media, Alden owns newspapers including The Denver Post, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Boston Herald, The Mercury News of San Jose, the East Bay Times, and The Orange County Register. The company acquired Digital First Media in 2010 after its parent company, MediaNews Group, declared bankruptcy. In December 2019, Alden Global Capital acquired a 32% stake in shares of Tribune Publishing Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune.
Alden has a reputation for cutting costs by reducing the number of journalists working on its newspapers. In March 2018, Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post, called Alden "one of the most ruthless of the corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism." Alden has received critical coverage from the editorial staff at the Denver Post, who described Alden Global Capital as "vulture capitalists" after multiple staff layoffs.
Digital First Media acquisition
Under the acquisition plan, MediaNews Group debt fell to $165 million from about $930 million. Senior lenders under the deal were to swap debt for stock. MediaNews Group came out of bankruptcy in March 2010 under the majority ownership of its lenders. The appointees to the MediaNews board were replaced by new directors representing the stockholders group led by Alden Global Capital. Several interim executive positions were also filled by people related to Alden or its parent, Smith Management LLC.
Pension fund controversy
The company has been criticized for investing money for pensions of newspaper employees in funds it manages itself.
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- Jackson, David, and Gary Marx, "Opinion - Will The Chicago Tribune Be the Next Newspaper Picked to the Bone?" (op-ed), New York Times, January 19, 2020. Note: The writers were investigative reporters at The Chicago Tribune. Accessed January 20, 2020.
- Bauerlein, Monika (May 15, 2020). ""News is just like waste management."". Mother Jones. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
- Sullivan, Margaret (March 15, 2018). "Is this strip-mining or journalism? 'Sobs, gasps, expletives' over latest Denver Post layoffs". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
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- Doctor, Ken. "Newsonomics: By selling to America’s worst newspaper owners, Michael Ferro ushers the vultures into Tribune", November 2019, Nieman Lab. Accessed February 13, 2020.
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- Langeveld, Martin (January 20, 2011). "The shakeup at MediaNews: Why it could be the leadup to a massive newspaper consolidation". Nieman Journalism Lab. The Nieman Foundation for Journalism (Harvard University). Retrieved February 22, 2011.
- O'Connell, Jonathan (April 17, 2019). "The hedge fund trying to buy Gannett faces federal probe after investing newspaper workers' pensions in its own funds". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 17, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
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