The newly formed Markets and Financial Fraud Division of the Utah attorney general's office will handle an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a recent renegotiation of the joint-operating agreement between The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, officials said Saturday.
The new deal that went into effect Jan. 1 slashed in half The Tribune's revenues from the papers' operating partnership, sold its share in printing facilities and gave the News control over the newspapers' joint operations.
Opponents of the new agreement argue it threatens The Tribune's survival and violates antitrust law. Citizens for Two Voices, a group that includes former Tribune employees, had met with the AG's office "to discuss the group's allegation that the newspaper agreement violates antitrust law." Citizens for Two Voices also filed a lawsuit on Monday asking a federal judge to immediately halt financial dealings between the two newspapers.