Murdoch Is Seen Acquiring the Daily News as Part of Tronc Breakup

(Bloomberg) -- Could Rupert Murdoch unite New York’s two major tabloids after nearly a century of competition?

That’s a scenario reported by Nieman Lab media analyst Ken Doctor, citing an unnamed source, who said Murdoch is looking to acquire the New York Daily News. The billionaire’s publishing arm, News Corp., already owns the New York Post, a property it bought in 1976.

The turn of events would be set in motion by the potential breakup of the Daily News’ current owner, Tronc Inc. Investment firm Donerail Group, backed by Starboard Value veteran William Wyatt, is preparing to acquire Tronc’s 10 daily newspapers and possibly sell them to individual buyers, Doctor said.

Tronc, based in Chicago, declined to comment. News Corp. didn’t have an immediate comment.

The Daily News has struggled under Tronc, which is cutting the size of the newsroom in half. Murdoch could step in and pay $1 to take the paper off Donerail’s hands, Doctor said. A dollar was also the price that Tronc paid to buy the Daily News last year, but it also agreed to assume operational and pension liabilities.

The Daily News was founded in 1919 and gained fame for its blaring tabloid headlines. By the 1940s, it was the best-selling newspaper in the country. It lost its stature in recent years, but it has continued to duke it out with the Post on newsstands across New York City.

The Post, meanwhile, lays claim to being the oldest continuously published U.S. newspaper. It was founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton.

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