With time running out, Stewart W. Bainum Jr. is making a renewed effort to buy Tribune Publishing, the newspaper chain that agreed in February to sell itself to its largest shareholder, the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.
Mr. Bainum, a Maryland hotel mogul, notified Tribune Publishing on Wednesday that he planned to have $300 million in financing that would go toward a revised offer valuing the company at roughly $680 million, according to three people with knowledge of the proposal. As part of the would-be arrangement, $200 million would come from his own fortune, the people said. The additional $100 million would come from new debt, the people said.
The proposal is not quite firm. Mr. Bainum hopes that his willingness to put in $200 million of his own money, along with the debt financing, will attract others to join his effort, the people said.
His offer is contingent on his finding a backer who will take on Tribune’s flagship paper, The Chicago Tribune, and fill the remaining gap of $380 million, the people added. After discussions with possible investors, Mr. Bainum has yet to find one willing to assume responsibility for the Chicago daily, the people said.
he agreed to buy The Baltimore Sun and two smaller Tribune papers in Maryland for $65 million, a deal that would have been completed after Alden had taken full ownership of the company. That plan went awry over details of operating agreements that would be in effect as the Maryland papers transitioned from one owner to another, prompting Mr. Bainum to set his sights on all of Tribune.
He made a solo offer for the entire company on March 16 that valued it at roughly $680 million, or $50 million more than Alden had bid under its February proposal. But Tribune was unswayed, saying it wanted proof that Mr. Bainum had the financing to back his proposal.
At the end of March, he got the company’s attention by joining with the Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss to add weight to the offer. Under the plan, Mr. Bainum would have spent $100 million of his own money and Mr. Wyss would have come through with the rest.
Tribune announced on April 5 that the offer from Mr. Wyss and Mr. Bainum was likely to lead to a “superior proposal.” But less than two weeks later, Mr. Wyss abruptly backed out, forcing Mr. Bainum to revise his bid and seek new deal partners.