After two-plus years of ridicule and misunderstanding of Tribune Publishing’s new brand, tronc with a lowercase T, the company is taking back its name. The return to Tribune Publishing Co. goes into effect today after the close of NASDAQ trading. The company’s new ticker symbol will be TPCO. Previously, the tronc ticker symbol was TRNC. Based in Chicago, Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida’s Sun Sentinel, the New York Daily News, and The Virginian-Pilot among other newspapers.
Tronc stood for TRibune Online Content, representing the company’s shift toward digital-first media, but the brand never really took off. The Tronc board approved the name change, amending its Delaware articles of incorporation and filing a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We are excited about the company rebranding to Tribune Publishing,” said Marisa Kollias on behalf of the company. “It’s a nod to our roots and a reinforcement of the journalistic foundation on which all of our news brands stand.”
In June 2016, when the rebranding to tronc took place, the company was ridiculed for the odd-sounding moniker. To help explain the chain, tronc put out this video:
The Verge was among the media organizations who wrote about the rebranding, calling tronc the sound of a millennial falling down the stairs while Reyhan Harmanci posted “junk in the tronc” on Twitter. Here are a few gems republished by The Verge in June 2016:
Comedian John Oliver said the tronc rebrand sounded like a stack of newspapers being thrown in the dumpster, reports Bloomberg. Finally, Tribune Publishing listened but didn’t explain why.
At the same time the rebranding news is making headlines, it is rumored that Tribune Publishing may be ripe for a sale, reports the Chicago Tribune. McClatchy is among the list of potential buyers. In mid-September, the Chicago Tribune reported that McClatchy and then-named tronc were in the early stage of negotiations. McClatchy owns 30 newspapers in 14 states, and the addition of Tribune Publishing would be a nice addition if the sale goes through.
The Chicago Tribune also said The Donerail Group, an investment firm based in New York, is also exploring the purchase of Tribune in the range of $19 to $20 per share, putting the company’s value at $700 million.
I may be stating the obvious but thank goodness tronc is no more! I join many others in believing that tronc was possibly the worst rebranding mistake a media organization has ever made. This unbranding and return to Tribune Publishing Co. is a great move, though a long time coming. Regardless of the company’s goal of becoming a digital first company, the Tribune Publishing Co. name returns a bit of the company’s former glory and dignity. Yes, it’s just a name but it carries a long history and prestige that tronc just couldn’t touch.