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Tribune, Deseret News bosses: There are no plans to close The Trib
Sworn statements » Top executives deny they have crafted a secret pact to mortally wound the newspaper.

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The court filings also blame Citizens for Two Voices for interfering with a possible sale of The Tribune to several parties who have expressed interest in buying it, Utah magnate and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. among them. Those talks have been put on hold, they claim in court documents, because of the lawsuit and scrutiny by federal antitrust attorneys.

In addition to disrupting The Tribune’s ability to do business and generating negative publicity about the revised JOA, the documents claim, "their efforts to inflame public opinion threaten to reduce circulation and advertising revenues by damaging the reputations and good will of both the Tribune and the News."

At a glance

Other developments

» After a federal lawsuit was filed in June, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups is weighing whether to intervene in a long-standing business partnership between Salt Lake City’s two largest daily newspapers, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Deseret News.

» The U.S. Department of Justice continues to pursue a separate investigation of whether the newspapers’ recently revised joint-operating agreement violates federal antitrust laws. DOJ lawyers have filed administrative subpoenas with owners of The Tribune and the News, seeking more information on their new pact.

» The Utah attorney general’s office is also investigating the antitrust implications from the amended JOA.

» Support continues to grow for an online petition by state Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, calling for federal intervention to halt and undo the newspaper deal, with more than 16,000 signatures.

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O’Brien, who is daughter of late Tribune publisher Jerry O’Brien, says the News, instead, has sought to block sale of The Tribune using its veto power over prospective owners, while also making the paper less attractive financially with its diminished profit split.


Twitter: @Tony_Semerad

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