Report: Tribune preparing to sell newspapers after it exits bankruptcy

Bloomberg News

The Tribune Company is "is interviewing bankers about selling its papers," Edmund Lee and Serena Saitto report. It's due to exit bankruptcy by Dec. 31, they write.

Rupert Murdoch is among the people interested in Tribune's papers, Lee and Saitto write; he's already expressed interest  in Tribune's Los Angeles Times.

Lynne Marek reported in May that Tribune would create eight companies. “This structure may make the assets more attractive to a potential buyer and makes it a cleaner transaction by putting the good assets in one place and carving out legacy costs,” restructuring consultant Dan Wikel told Marek.

"I think this news is consistent with a fairly positive trend for the industry this year," Poynter business analyst Rick Edmonds says. "Admittedly at relatively low prices, papers coming up for sale are finding a number of interested buyers."

Who might end up with Tribune's papers?

The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call and The Hartford Courant arguably
fit Warren Buffett's criteria
for community papers -- both are "large community newspapers that are very plugged into what’s going on in their communities," as World Media Enterprises President Terry Kroeger described the Buffett-owned Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Omaha World-Herald.

So, too, might the Baltimore Sun. The local Abell Foundation has
expressed interest in buying that paper. But reached by phone, Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry, Jr., told Poynter "We would certainly consider whether we would want to pursue" buying the Sun, "but we haven’t even thought about it for some period of time." The foundation has had no contact with Tribune lately, he said.

A number of suitors besides Murdoch have expressed interest in the Los Angeles Times: Eli Broad is still reportedly interested in buying that paper, as is Aaron Kushner, who recently purchased the Orange County Register. "It is one of the few institutions in the country that has a tremendous history and heritage, and it is in an important market," Kushner told L.A. Times reporter Meg James in October.

Hoy Los Angeles, one of Tribune's Spanish-language papers, helped edge up the L.A. Times' circulation numbers in a report earlier this year.

Earlier this fall, San Diego U-T owner Doug Manchester said he was
interested in buying the L.A. Times, but later U-T CEO John Lynch said the company "is not interested in entering an auction for the L.A. Times."

Marek reported that Wrapports LLC, which bought Sun-Times Media
Holdings, may be interested in purchasing the Chicago Tribune.

Tribune's Florida properties, the Orlando Sentinel and the Fort
Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, might be attractive to Halifax Media, which
owns 15 other Florida newspapers.

Previously: If Tribune decides to sells its newspapers, which ones might someone (like Warren Buffett) buy?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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