Warren Buffett or civic-minded local investors in L.A., Chicago, Baltimore or other Tribune cities might be unable to purchase the papers individually, unless or until they were broken up by a subsequent owner.Â
The newspaper sale has been anticipated for months, but Tribune was expected to keep and grow its broadcast business, so the offloading of those properties.
Â As the Tribune company ends a four-year period of bankruptcy today, it plans to sell all of its media properties, according to a report by Robert Channick.
Tribune Co. owns 23 television stations, including WGN-Ch. 9, WGN America, eight daily newspapers and other media assets, all of which the reorganization plan valued at $4.5 billion after cash distributions and new financing. Eventually, all the assets are expected to be sold, according to the new owners.
A financial analysis this year estimated the broadcast assets are worth $2.85 billion; a stake in the Food Network and Internet companies including CareerBuilder is worth $2.26 billion; and the companyâ€™s newspapers are worthÂ $623 million.
Multiple newspaper owners have expressed interest in Tribuneâ€™s papers.
- Warren Buffett, whoÂ bought dozens of newspapers in 2012,Â said recently of The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call, â€śWe havenâ€™t heard anything from the Tribune Co., but if the phone rings, Iâ€™ll answer.â€ť
- Rupert MurdochÂ has reportedly consideredÂ acquiring the Los Angeles TimesÂ and the other Tribune papers,Â as News Corp. separates its publishing from its entertainment division.
- Aaron Kushner, who has beenÂ expanding the Orange County RegisterÂ since purchasing it this year, said last week thatÂ he was interested in the L.A. Times and other Tribune papers.Â â€ťI think itâ€™s a pretty small group that potentially could fit our model,â€ť Kushner told the Associated Press.
Kushner also told the AP, â€śhe expects the Tribuneâ€™s new owners would sell the newspapers in a single package.â€ť In that case, buyers like Ws would be a surprise.
The sale of the broadcast properties could make News Corp. a more likely buyer (it might even be an incentive for them to buy the less lucrative newspapers), as they already own TV stations in some of the same markets, andÂ the FCC is moving toward relaxing cross-ownership rules.
Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein will remain in that role for the next few weeks until the new board appoints a new CEO, most likely former broadcast executive Peter Ligouri.
This post was originally posted by Broadcast Union News on December 31, 2012. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Robert Daraio is aÂ Local Representative at The Newspaper Guild of New York, CWA Local 31003. He lives in New York.