Los Angeles Times owner completes purchase of renamed San Diego newspaper

SAN DIEGO – Tribune Publishing Co. said Thursday that it completed its purchase of San Diego’s dominant newspaper from real estate developer Douglas Manchester for $85 million.

The San Diego newspaper immediately changed its name from U-T San Diego to The San Diego Union-Tribune, as it was known from 1992 until Manchester bought it in 2011.

The deal closed two weeks after the owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other publications announced it agreed to buy the 146-year-old newspaper in a cash-and-stock transaction. It puts the top newspapers of California’s two largest cities under common ownership.

Publisher Austin Beutner said the Los Angeles and San Diego newspapers “will combine forces to help build a news organization that engages, informs and faithfully serves its readers.”

“The Union-Tribune and The Times will share resources — and a singular commitment to quality journalism — but each will maintain its own, independent editorial voice,” Beutner, publisher of Tribune Publishing’s California Newspaper Group, which includes both newspapers, wrote in a letter to Union-Tribune readers.

Russ Newton, the Times’ senior vice-president for operations, was named the Union-Tribune’s president and chief operating officer. He joins Union-Tribune senior managers who are staying in their roles: Jeff Light, editor; Lora Cicalo, managing editor; and Bill Osborne, editorial and opinion director.

The sale excludes the Union-Tribune building in San Diego’s Mission Valley area, which Manchester is developing for apartments and will lease to the newspaper for a short period.