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Chicago Tribune parent company seeks to buy Sun-Times

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CHICAGO -- A for-sale sign has been put on the Chicago Sun-Times, and the company that operates rival Chicago Tribune has announced it is interested in owning the newspaper.

Chicago-based Wrapports LLC announced Monday it has agreed to enter into discussions with tronc Inc. after failing to interest other media companies in acquiring the Sun-Times.

In a statement, Wrapports states if tronc acquires the Sun-Times, it would operate the newspaper as a separate unit, keeping in place the independent newsroom.

Now with the Medill School of Journalism, Owen Youngman once worked at the Tribune. He says tronc's proposed purchase of the Sun-Times was inevitable, since the Tribune has printed the Sun-Times for years.

"Very few papers can compete in a city this size or even a little smaller," Youngman said.

At one time tronc chairman Michael W. Ferro owned a stake in the Sun-Times. After taking the tronc post last year, he announced plans to donate that stake to a charitable trust to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Sun-Times publisher and editor-in-chief Jim Kirk said in a statement the acquisition of the newspaper by tronc is an opportunity for the Sun-Times to thrive.

"Really we have distinct audiences, so it wouldn't make sense to combine the two newsrooms," Sun-Times Editor in Chief Jim Kirk said Monday.

While the deal would need to be approved by federal regulators, the companies say they've already informed the Department of Justice, and if no other possible buyers come forward in 15 days, they intend to seal the deal. The Department of Justice Antitrust Division confirms they are monitoring the sale.