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Virginian-Pilot Sold to Chicago-Based Publisher Tronc 

click to enlarge The front of The Virginian-Pilot's downtown Norfolk offices on Brambleton Avenue.

Stephen M. Katz for The Virginian-Pilot

The front of The Virginian-Pilot's downtown Norfolk offices on Brambleton Avenue.

The Virginian-Pilot has been sold to a Chicago-based newspaper publisher, officials said today.

The purchaser is Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing. It owns metropolitan papers in cities such as New York, Baltimore and Orlando. It also owns The Daily Press of Newport News.

The cash purchase price was $34 million.

“From its founding in 1865, The Virginian-Pilot has a long history of commitment to journalism. We are thrilled to welcome The Virginian-Pilot to the Tronc portfolio. The inclusion of The Virginian-Pilot further strengthens our presence in the region and renews our commitment to our longstanding tradition of journalistic excellence,” Justin Dearborn, Tronc chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

"In order to most effectively continue its important work, The Virginian-Pilot must have the benefit of the resources of a large organization,” said Rusty Friddell, general counsel of Landmark Media Enterprises, former owners of the Pilot. “Tronc brings the scale and commitment to best serve our important mission."

The acquisition includes subsidiary publications, such as Inside Business and Style Weekly. It also includes The Pilot's downtown Norfolk headquarters and printing plant in Virginia Beach.

"Style Weekly is honored to have been a part of the Batten family's storied portfolio of media and journals," says Style publisher Lori Waran. "We look forward to exciting days ahead with our new owners."

The Virginian-Pilot is the largest daily paper in Virginia. It was founded in 1865 and has a print Sunday circulation of 132,000.

The Virginian-Pilot has won three Pulitzer Prizes and was a 2018 Pulitzer finalist in investigative reporting.

In addition to the Daily Press, Tronc owns some of the country’s best known metropolitan newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Daily News, The Hartford Courant, The Orlando Sentinel and the Sun-Sentinel of south Florida. It currently owns the Los Angeles Times, but has announced the sale of that paper and several other papers in Southern California.

Tronc was formerly known as Tribune Publishing, but changed its name in 2016 to better reflect its digital news focus. Tronc stands for “Tribune online content”.

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