US businessman Michael Ferro buys 16.6% stake in Tribune Publishing

US businessman Michael Ferro, through his firm Merrick Media acquired a 16.6 per cent stake in Los Angeles Times owner Tribune Publishing, making him the largest shareholder in the publishing house, which also owns the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune and other daily newspapers.

Ferro, who already owns Chicago Sun-Times, purchased 5.22 million newly-issued shares of Tribune Publishing stock for $44.4-million.

Ferro paid $8.50 for each Tribune share, 50 cents below the stock's closing price of $9 on Wednesday.

As part of his investment, Ferro will get a board seat and replace Eddy Hartenstein, a former Times publisher, the company said in a statement.

Tribune Publishing said that it intends to use proceeds to execute further on its growth strategy, including strategic acquisitions and digital initiatives.

Commenting on the investment, Tribune Publishing CEO, Jack Griffin said, ''This transaction supports key elements of our ongoing strategic plan and provides our Company with additional capital to accelerate our growth strategies. We continue to evaluate growth opportunities where we can achieve measurable, value-enhancing synergies that drive financial contribution and maximize shareholder value.''

Ferro said, ''I am excited to be working with the Company's award-winning brands. I see tremendous upside to create value and put Tribune Publishing at the forefront of technology and content to benefit journalists and shareholders.''

Tribune Publishing is a diversified media company with a diverse portfolio of news and information brands that include 11 award-winning major daily titles, more than 60 digital properties and more than 180 verticals in markets, including Los Angeles; San Diego; Chicago; South Florida; Orlando; Baltimore; Carroll County and Annapolis, Md.; Hartford, Conn.; Allentown, Pa., and Newport News, Va.

Tribune Publishing also offers a range of marketing solutions, and operates a number of niche products, including Hoy, El Sentinel and VidaLatina, making it the country's largest Spanish-language publisher.

It was spun off from media company Tribune Co in 2014.