MINNEAPOLIS – The Star Tribune could be under new ownership in several weeks after it was announced Tuesday that billionaire Glen Taylor had officially offered to buy the Pulitzer Prize-winning paper.
"I look at it as a pretty encouraging announcement," said Star Tribune Reporter Jim Walsh.
Of the few Star Tribune employees willing to talk on camera as they left work Tuesday evening, all were optimistic about Taylor becoming the guy who signs their checks, including Walsh.
"I think there's a lot to be said for having a local person with community ties be the owner of the newspaper," he said.
Taylor who owns the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx signed a letter of intent with the Star Tribune to buy the venerable paper.
Neither side would indicate how much Taylor offered to buy the newspaper. The deal is now in the middle of a due diligence review which is basically a closer look at the Star Tribune's operations.
Taylor could be the owner by sometime in May.
"We don't expect any huge changes to follow after the closing," said Publisher and CEO Mike Klingensmith.
Klingensmith expressed excitement about the announcement and said that Taylor had no intentions of interfering in the day-to-day operations of the paper.
"The sale itself will not have any particular effect on jobs," he said. "Glen has asked the management team and the board to continue in their roles and very supportive on the path that we've been on."
Taylor told KARE 11 he felt the acquisition is a good business decision and wanted to keep the paper viable for years to come.
"Being private will allow them to plan further into the future and take some risks," said Taylor. "The Tribune is one that is recognized by fellow papers throughout the United States and I want to keep it at that level. And I think that is important for us in Minnesota."
But not everyone in the industry was on board, at least not yet.
"My immediate reaction is yet another billionaire buying a quality newspaper," said Jane Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota.
Kirtley said she has a skeptical view of people who buy newspapers who do not have experience in the news business.
"Is he doing this because of his commitment to robust journalism in the community or is this a power play, is this about control? I think we'll have to wait to see," she said of Taylor.