A little more than two years after Tribune Publishing Co. now infamously changed its name to the Wall Street collective head-scratcher tronc, Inc., the company is officially changing its name back. The Chicago-based publishing company will resume trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol TPCO, replacing TRNC, on October 10.
It’s been a wild ride for the company soon to be formerly known as tronc (that’s with a lower-case “t”) since June 2, 2016, when new then-new chairman Michael Ferro made the announcement that Tribune would be known as tronc — short for “Tribune online content,” apparently to differentiate it from a company that owned newspapers.
Twitter was unkind, as were branding experts. “It hit all of the wrong things on what would create an impactful new name,” Matthew Quint, director of the Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership, told Deadline at the time. “It’s created something that is laughable. If it’s [short for] ‘Tribune online content,’ then why isn’t it Tronco?”
Ferro doubled down on the rebrand, going full jargon to explain: He said Tronc “is focused on leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the user experience and better monetize our world-class content in order to deliver personalized content to our 60 million monthly users and drive value for all of our stakeholders.” (Farro departed the company this past March amid sexual misconduct allegations.)
Since Tronc came to be, the company that now owns the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun among nine papers has sold off the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune to Patrick Soon-Shiong for $500 million, returning the LAT to local ownership after 18 years under Tribune/tronc control (remember Sam Zell?). In July, tronc cut half the editorial staff at its New York Daily News, which it had acquired a year ago for $1 amid continued pressure in the print news business.
The company during the stretch has also sold off some of its prized real estate, including Chicago’s iconic Tribune Tower, longtime home of the Tribune newspaper, and over the same period rebuffed offers from Gannett to acquire it. Those talks are dormant for now.
For the record, tronc is officially no more at 4:15 PM ET on Tuesday, October 9.