The Other Owners | Bleader

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Other Owners

Posted By on 10.16.09 at 03:28 PM

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Here are the new owners of the Sun-Times Media Group, announced Friday by Jim Tyree, the organizer and head of the investment group that's now calling itself Sun-Times Media Holdings LLC.

*Jim Tyree, Chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial, Managing Member, Sun-Times Media Holdings, LLC
*Andrew Agostini, Principal and Owner, J.L. Woode Ltd.
*Kevin Flynn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Emerald Ventures, Inc.
*Ed Heil, Investor and Entrepreneur
*Michael Mackey, Senior Managing Director, Insurance Services, Mesirow Financial
*William Parrillo and Robert Parrillo, Private Investors
*Richard Price, President and Chief Operating Officer, Mesirow Financial
*Ed Ross, Principal and Owner, J.L. Woode Ltd.
*W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, President, Wirtz Corporation
*Bruce Young, Vice Chairman, Mesirow Financial

Tyree calls them all "local investors with ties to Chicago and a strong interest in seeing this institution prosper." Rumor had it that Rocky Wirtz, who controls the Blackhawks, was on Tyree's team, and rumor was right. It's not an ideal situation, but journalism and the Chicago Cubs just survived 18 years of Tribune Company control of that franchise, and Sun-Times sports should be able to manage.

Considerably less ideal is the presence of wannabe casino magnate Kevin Flynn, CEO of Emerald Casino Inc. when it was trying to open a casino in Rosemont a few years ago. The Illinois Gaming Board yanked Emerald's license, on the grounds that some shareholders were linked to organized crime and that Flynn had lied to board investigators. He was accused of a "continuous pattern ... of providing false and misleading information to the board and its staff."

Says Tyree about the company he's acquiring:

With the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval last week of the sale of Sun-Times Media Group Inc. assets to Sun-Times Media Holdings LLC and closing scheduled for later this month, we are very pleased with the progress that’s been made to save these legendary Chicago institutions and more than 1,800 jobs.

We are excited to have the opportunity to create a successful business for all our constituencies: our employees, readers, advertisers, investors and the community. Our goal is to build a high-quality, high-integrity business with the best local coverage of news, sports and entertainment. We are committed to investing the necessary capital to transform the company to accomplish that goal. The organization has great potential, talented people and solid content, and we believe there’s still a need for strong regional coverage across the Chicago region, from the Wisconsin border into Northwest Indiana. Producing great content will not only meet our readers’ needs, but it will continue to serve our advertisers and community as well. We need to come together to be more efficient and effective at delivering news, as well as be innovative to compete in this dynamically changing industry.

We are confident that, going forward, we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our employees and work together to build a world-class media business. We thank the management team, the union leadership and members as well as all employees for their commitment and sacrifice to make this deal happen. To create a successful, profitable organization, we need that cooperative spirit to continue, and I believe it will...

As head of the investor group, I will provide strategic and capital planning, set the tone for the organization and provide support to each of the company’s constituencies. My full-time efforts will remain focused on my role as chairman and chief executive officer of Mesirow Financial. The officers at Sun-Times Media will be responsible for leading and managing the company. The senior management team, listed below, has demonstrated a firm commitment to the business throughout this process and the investor group looks forward to working with them.

*Jeremy L. Halbreich, Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman
*Rick Surkamer, President and Chief Operating Officer
*Jim McDonough, Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel
*Barbara Swanson, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Marketing Media
*John Barron, Publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and Pioneer Press
*Fred Lebolt, President and Publisher of Southtown Star, Fox Valley Publications and New Media Integration
*Lisa Tatina, Publisher of the Post-Tribune
*David Martin, Senior Vice President, Business Development
*Kevin King, Vice President, Operations
*Ted Rilea, Vice President, Human Resources
*Jeff Kane, Vice President, Technology
*Courtney Price, Vice President, Circulation Sales and Service

That team will continue to be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Sun-Times News Group’s 58 other local publications and Web sites.

Tyree doesn't appear to be the least bit concerned that the six union printers who have not come to terms with him will kibosh the sale.

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