Media Conglomerate Considers Bids
Posted on Jan 21, 2007
Tribune Media, the conglomerate that owns the Los Angeles Times along with other major newspapers, TV stations and even the Chicago Cubs, announced it is considering offers for its sale. The economic wisdom of conglomeration has come under fire in recent years, but Tribune’s troubles have raised concerns over the future of the newspaper industry in general.
After purchasing the Times, Tribune tried to squeeze every last cent out of the paper, but financial goals remained unmet. Some critics have suggested local ownership, with less pressure on the bottom line, might be a better model for the newspaper business as advertising revenue continues to flow to the Internet. But local ownership comes with its own worries, such as the power an individual or small group might wield over the community’s voice.
For comprehensive coverage of Chicago’s antics at the Los Angeles Times and the future of print journalism, read Steve Wasserman’s essays “Requiem for an Editor” and “Chicago Agonistes: The Plight of the L.A. Times.”
According to one report in the Chicago Tribune, the firm currently favours a strategy of funding a special dividend by taking on a substantial amount of debt.
The newspaper also said the firm was looking into whether to spin off or sell its broadcasting assets and even taking the firm private.
Earlier this week reports said a number of potential suitors had approached the firm.
Chandler Trusts - Tribune’s biggest shareholder - is said to have made an offer valuing the firm at $7.6bn (3.85bn).
Meanwhile, Carlyle Group is said to be interested in Tribune’s 24 TV stations and entrepreneurs Eli Broad and Ron Burkle are also believed to be interested in investing in the business.
Tribune said it would make an announcement about its future some time during the first three months of 2007.