Report: Tribune Co. Restructuring Moves Could Lead To Sale Of Assets
May 23, 2012 at 4:28 AM (PT)
CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS is reporting that TRIBUNE CO. has filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to restructure the ownership of its broadcast and publishing assets to streamline the company, which some observers think will allow for possible spin-off sales of the properties.
The move would cluster the assets into fewer subsidiaries and would spin the newspaper assets to a new publishing subsidiary with eight new limited-liability corporations for each of its primary English-language newspapers. The broadcast side creates new limited liability companies for MY NETWORK TV affiliate WPHL-TV/PHILADELPHIA, CW affiliates KDAF-TV (THE 33)/DALLAS and KRCW-TV/PORTLAND, and FOX affiliates WPMT-TV (FOX 43)/YORK-HARRISBURG and KTXL-TV (FOX 40)/SACRAMENTO.
HURON CONSULTING GROUP LLC's DAN WIKEL told CRAIN'S that the move "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."
DEVELOPMENT SPECIALISTS INC.'s BILL BRANDT said that "in the TRIBUNE situation right now it may be a fact that the parts are worth more than the whole," contending that the new owners would sell off some units after the company emerges from bankruptcy.
And SONENSHINE PARTNERS' MARSHALL SONENSHINE added, "I don't think they're going to be together at all. I don't think they have any synergies together." HUBBARD BROADCASTING is noted as a possible buyer for the broadcast properties, with LOS ANGELES billionaire developer ELI BROAD voicing interest in the LOS ANGELES TIMES and WRAPPORTS LLC, the company formed to buy the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES last year, interested in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.