Tribune hires bankers to weigh bids for newspapers

CNBC
Tribune will hire Evercore Partners and JPMorgan Chase to sell its newspaper properties, Kayla Tausche reports, saying the bankers will “lead an auction over the course of the coming weeks.”

Tribune spokesperson Gary Weitman confirms Tribune has hired Evercore and JPMorgan but says the company isn’t planning an auction: “There is a lot of interest in our newspapers, which we haven’t solicited,” he writes in an email to Poynter. “Hiring outside financial advisors will help us determine whether that interest is credible, allow us to consider all of our options, and fulfill our fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders and employees.”

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (I think you mean New News Corporation, CNBC!) “is expected to play a prominent role in those discussions,” Tausche reports.

Murdoch is reportedly interested in buying the Los Angeles Times and has been mentioned as a buyer of Tribune’s other papers, which include the flagship Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. News Corp owns television stations in Chicago and Los Angeles, so FCC cross-ownership regulations would make it difficult for the company to buy newspapers in those markets.

An attempt to loosen those rules has stalled and “won’t get through with the Democratic administration in place,” Murdoch predicted last month.

Orange County Register owner Aaron Kushner told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he is interested in purchasing all of the Tribune papers.

The New York Times Co. announced last week it had hired Evercore to explore a sale of The Boston Globe. Evercore also oversaw the sale of Philadelphia’s newspapers to a group of local investors in 2012.

Tribune exited bankruptcy at the end of 2012 with a plan to sell its newspapers.

Via Matthew Keys

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