August 26, 2019

Sanders Wants Employees to Be Able to Bid on Media Companies Before Mergers

In an August 26 editorial in the Columbia Journalism Review, Bernie Sanders said that if elected, his administration would require that “before any future mergers can take place, employees must be given the opportunity to purchase media outlets through employee stock-ownership plans—an innovative business model that was first pioneered in the newspaper industry.“

ESOPs have a long and varied history with media companies. The very first ESOP model provided a way for employees to buy out the owners of a newspaper (the Peninsula News Group) in 1956. Currently, ESOPs can be found at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, and The Daily Herald in suburban Chicago.