Chicago's media scene could get a lot smaller -- so long as the Justice Department approves.
Wrapports, the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times, is looking for a buyer that will keep publishing the daily newspaper. The owner of the Chicago Tribune, tronc, has stepped up to the plate, both companies announced Monday.
"If completed, tronc would own and operate the Sun-Times as a separate unit, keeping in place the independent newsroom," Wrapports said in a statement.
The terms of the pending merger haven't been disclosed.
But it's not a done deal yet. Since they kicked off discussions, tronc and Wrapports have been in touch with the Justice Department. The antitrust division asked Wrapports to post an advertisement announcing that its assets are for sale, giving other potential buyers 15 days to come forward.
Even then, the Justice Department could oppose the deal. It announced Monday that it's investing the possible acquisition and will "closely monitor the sale process."
If a viable buyer other than tronc fails to make a case, "tronc and Wrapports intend to continue pursuing a deal to successfully close the transaction," Wrapports said.
The Justice Department has blocked the Chicago Tribune's parent company from completing a merger before, back when it was known as Tribune Publishing.
In March 2016, the Justice Department under President Barack Obama filed an antitrust suit when Tribune Publishing, which also owned the Los Angeles Times, emerged as the top bidder for the Orange County Register.
It's unclear, however, what route the Justice Department under President Donald Trump may choose to take.