Tronc, the parent company of The Baltimore Sun, is changing its name back to Tribune Publishing.
The Chicago-based company, which also owns the Chicago Tribune; Hartford Courant; Orlando Sentinel; South Florida's Sun Sentinel; the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis; the Carroll County Times; The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.; the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.; and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., announced the decision Thursday. It ends a more than two-year run with the much-derided corporate moniker of Tronc.
The name change will take effect after the market closes Tuesday. Beginning Wednesday, the company’s stock will trade on the NASDAQ under the new ticker symbol TPCO.
The Tronc name was unveiled in June 2016, four months after technology entrepreneur Michael Ferro became nonexecutive chairman and the largest shareholder of the newspaper chain. The name, which stood for Tribune Online Content and was intended to be written in all-lowercase letters, quickly was ridiculed.
Tribune Publishing was the inaugural corporate name for the newspaper company, formed in August 2014 when the Tribune Co. publishing unit was spun off from its broadcast stations. The TV and radio stations took the Tribune Media name.
Tronc’s board approved the name change back to Tribune Publishing, which required filing an amended certificate of incorporation with Delaware and a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission. No regulatory approval is needed.
“We are excited about the company rebranding to Tribune Publishing Inc.,” spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said in a statement. “It’s a nod to our roots, and a reinforcement of the journalistic foundation on which all of our news brands stand.”
The shedding of the Tronc name comes amid potential interest in the company’s acquisition.
California-based newspaper chain McClatchy, a publicly traded company that owns more than 30 newspapers in 14 states, emerged as a potential buyer last month, according to sources familiar with negotiations.
The Donerail Group, a nascent New York-based investment firm headed by former Starboard Value executive Will Wyatt, has been in negotiations to buy Tronc since early August. Sources familiar with negotiations say Donerail has offered between $19 and $20 per share for Tronc, valuing the newspaper company at upward of $700 million.
McClatchy and Donerail have neither confirmed nor denied their interest in buying Tronc.
Tronc spokeswoman Marisa Kollias declined to comment.
Tronc completed its $500 million sale of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong in June, leaving it a smaller but virtually debt-free company.
Soon-Shiong, who still owns 25 percent of Tronc, is in discussions with both McClatchy and Donerail to partner in their respective bids for the company as an owner, according to sources.
McClatchy spokeswoman Jeanne Segal and Wyatt declined to comment. A Soon-Shiong spokeswoman did not return a request for comment Thursday.
During a media conference Tuesday in Los Angeles, which was broadcast online, Soon-Shiong was asked whether he was in advanced negotiations with McClatchy to buy Tronc. “I see this as an opportunity if we can,” he said.
He added, “I’m here to say if McClatchy needs my help, I’m here to support them.”
Soon-Shiong also made it known which name he favored.
“I don’t call it Tronc,” Soon-Shiong said. “I can’t stand that word.”