Tribune Co. out of bankruptcy

The Chicago Tribune, with its imposing building, is one of eight daily newspapers owned by Tribune Co.
The Chicago Tribune, with its imposing building, is one of eight daily newspapers owned by Tribune Co. (AP)
Posted: January 01, 2013

Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and the Allentown Morning Call, as well as local TV stations including Channel 17 in Philadelphia and numerous cable and Internet properties, emerged from bankruptcy Monday. The move came four years after a doomed leveraged buyout by billionaire Sam Zell led to Chapter 11 proceedings.

As part of its exit from bankruptcy, the Chicago-based company closed on a new $1.1 billion term loan and a $300 million revolving credit line.

Tribune is now in a position to begin a wide-ranging sale of assets, including stakes in the Food Network and CareerBuilder Inc. and real estate, said Lance Vitanza, managing director at CRT Capital Group L.L.C.

"It's all for sale," Vitanza said. "If they reorganize around anything, it will be the TV assets, but we wouldn't be surprised if they sell those, too."

Tribune owns eight daily newspapers, 23 TV stations, and stakes in more than 50 websites.

Before cash distributions and new financing, a 2012 analysis by financial adviser Lazard valued the broadcasting assets, including national cable channel WGN America, at $2.85 billion. Other strategic assets, such as job site CareerBuilder and cable channel Food Network, are worth $2.26 billion.

The newspaper holdings are now worth just $623 million in total value, according to Lazard. In 2006, entertainment mogul David Geffen made a $2 billion cash offer for the Los Angeles Times alone.

Tribune filed for bankruptcy in December 2008. Zell, a real estate developer, had orchestrated an $8.3 billion leveraged buyout in 2007, just before the recession and a slump in advertising devastated the newspaper industry.

In November, Tribune won approval from the Federal Communications Commission to transfer its television and radio licenses to new owners including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Oaktree Capital Management L.P., and Angelo, Gordon & Co. - the last hurdle to emerging from bankruptcy.

This article contains information from the Chicago Tribune.

comments powered by Disqus