The Salt Lake Tribune, the largest newspaper in Utah, will be sold to Paul Huntsman, son of local billionaire businessman Jon Huntsman Sr.
Terms of the deal, announced by the Tribune’s parent, Digital First Media, were not disclosed.
The transaction was contingent on the end of a federal lawsuit and an antitrust investigation of the Tribune's partnership with the Deseret News, the Tribune said.
“We are honored to be stewards of The Salt Lake Tribune,” Huntsman said in a prepared statement. “It is important that The Salt Lake Tribune continues in its indispensable role for our community and to be locally owned. We hope to ensure the Tribune’s independent voice for future generations and are thrilled to own a business of this quality and stature.”
With publicly traded media companies struggling to maintain their advertising revenues, newspapers have been increasingly scooped up by wealthy businessmen seeking influence and business opportunities in local markets. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune are among the papers that have been sold in recent years by publicly traded parent companies to wealthy individuals.
Paul Huntsman is CEO of the family's investment firm, Huntsman Family Investments, whose influence in Utah is vast and touches many layers of the region's business, political and philanthropic sectors. Jon Huntsman Sr. founded Huntsman Corp., one of the largest makers of polyurethanes. His son, Jon Huntsman Jr., is a former governor of Utah who launched a 2012 Republican presidential bid after submitting his resignation as the U.S. ambassador to China.
The Salt Lake Tribune, which began publishing in 1871, has a weekday paid circulation of 74,000.