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Tribune Company Files For Bankruptcy

December 8, 2008

The question posed last night on this blog has been answered.

The Tribune Company filed for bankruptcy protection in a federal court in Delaware on Monday, as the owner of The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Cubs baseball team struggled to cope with rising debt and falling ad revenue.

(Blogger’s addition……WGN Radio is also a Tribune owned company.)

Tribune, which was acquired last year by billionaire real estate investor Samuel Zell, had hired bankruptcy advisers like Lazard and the law firm Sidley Austin in recent weeks as it negotiated with creditors over debt covenants.

It is only the latest — and biggest — sign of duress for the newspaper industry yet. Several newspaper companies have struggled to cope with declining revenues and mounting debt woes. Tribune has pared back the newsrooms of many of its papers, and it sold off Newsday to Cablevision’s Dolan family earlier this year. It is unclear what Tribune’s filing means for other newspaper publishers on the brink.

“Over the last year, we have made significant progress internally on transitioning Tribune into an entrepreneurial company that pursues innovation and stronger ways of serving our customers,” Mr. Zell, who holds the titles of Tribune chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, at the same time, factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm — a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt.

The Tribune Company owns 23 TV stations and 12 newspapers, including two of the eight largest in the country by circulation. As of Sept. 30, The Los Angeles Times had weekday circulation of 739,000 and the Chicago Tribune had 542,000.

Tribune has been trying to sell the Chicago Cubs baseball team; the team’s stadium, Wrigley Field; and the company’s share in a regional cable sports network. Such a deal, which could bring the company more than $1 billion, has been a crucial part of its strategy since last year.

One Comment
  1. Harlin permalink
    December 8, 2008 4:04 PM

    I see jobs in advertising, media, publishing and journalism posted on popular job sites –

    If tribune goes under, the tribune folks will get new jobs.

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