Salt Lake Tribune sold to wealthy industrialist family

Brady McCombs
The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — A son of wealthy industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr. has agreed to buy The Salt Lake Tribune, ending uncertainty about the future of Utah’s largest independent newspaper.

Digital First Media, owner of The Denver Post, reached an agreement to sell the newspaper to Paul Huntsman, the company announced in a statement Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Huntsman purchase fits an emerging ownership trend in the newspaper industry of wealthy business figures buying publications because they value their civic importance, said media analyst Ken Doctor.

In recent years, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has bought the Washington Post; Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has purchased the Boston Globe; and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has bought the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The sale’s timing comes as somewhat of a surprise, but it was known that the Huntsman family was interested in the newspaper.

“It is important that The Salt Lake Tribune continues in its indispensable role for our community and to be locally owned,” Paul Huntsman said in a statement.

Patriarch Jon Huntsman Sr. is founder and executive chairman of Huntsman Corp., a roughly $13 billion company that refines raw materials that go into thousands of products. He also founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, a research center dedicated to finding a cure through human genetics.

Son Paul Huntsman is the CEO of Huntsman Family Investments, a private investment arm. Another son, Jon Huntsman Jr., is a former governor of Utah and ambassador to China who ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2012.