Tribune says financing is committed


Tribune Company CEO Dennis FitzSimons sought to calm Wall Street fears that the company's buyout won't close. FitzSimons insisted "Our going-private transaction is on track and the financing for it is fully committed." In a statement accompanying his company's Q2 financial results, the CEO said, "We anticipate closing the transaction in the fourth quarter, following FCC approval, and expect to be in full compliance with our credit agreements."

Q2 results were predictably soft, given the general state of the ad market. Publishing revenues declined 9% to 920 million, with ad revenues off 11%. Television operating revenues dropped 7% to 287 million and TV operating cash flow declined 12% to 100 million. "Station revenues in Los Angeles and Chicago were down for the quarter and revenues in St. Louis were lower because KPLR no longer carries Cardinals baseball. 

New York showed improvement.  On a group basis, declines in the auto, restaurant, financial and retail categories, as well as the absence of political advertising, were partially offset by gains in the telecom, media and entertainment/recreation categories," the company said. Tribune does not break out results for WGN-AM Chicago, but Radio/Entertainment revenues were up 27.3% to 106 million, primarily because the Chicago Cubs had more home games during the quarter this year than last. Radio/Entertainment operating cash flow jumped 146.3% to 20.2 million.

For all of Tribune Company, Q2 revenues dropped 7% to 1.3 billion and operating cash flow declined 29% to 254 million. On the bottom line, earnings per share from continuing operations were 17 cents, down from 53 cents a year ago