Publisher Tribune emerges from four-year bankruptcy

Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:28pm EST
 

By Liana B. Baker and Ashutosh Pandey

(Reuters) - U.S. media giant Tribune Co emerged from bankruptcy on Monday, ending four years of Chapter 11 reorganization and potentially setting itself up for a future without newspapers.

Tribune's controlling owners, which include hedge funds Oaktree Capital and Angelo, Gordon & Co, and JPMorgan Chase & Co intend to sell most, if not all, of its newspapers and already have expressions of interest for The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel and others, Reuters has reported.

For now at least, the Chicago-based company said its portfolio would include eight major daily newspapers and 23 TV stations.

Tribune's newspapers remain profitable despite the falloff in readers and advertising. Veteran newspaper analyst John Morton, President of Morton Research, estimated the Los Angeles Times could fetch $130 million at an auction, while the Chicago Tribune could garner $86 million in a sale.

Oaktree is the biggest Tribune shareholder, owning about 23 percent of the company while Angelo Gordon and JP Morgan each hold a 9 percent stake.

"Tribune will emerge as a dynamic multi-media company with a great mix of profitable assets, powerful brands in major markets, sufficient liquidity for operations and investments and significantly less debt," Chief Executive Eddy Hartenstein said in a statement.

As part of the Chapter 11 exit, the company closed on a new $1.1 billion senior secured term loan and a new $300 million asset-based revolving credit facility.

The term loan will be used to fund certain payments under the plan of reorganization and the revolving credit facility will be used to fund ongoing operations, the company said.   Continued...

 
People walk past a newspaper box across from the Chicago Tribune tower in Chicago, Illinois December 8, 2008. Publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co., a privately held company, which publishes the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection according to the Los Angeles Times December 8. REUTERS/Frank Polich