The television, newspaper and radio properties of Tribune Company will start the new year operating outside the shadow of bankruptcy, according to a report from Reuters. On 12/31/12, the company will officially abandon Chapter 11 protection and Peter Liguori will take over as CEO.
The next step will likely be execution of plans to divest its newspaper properties, which includes marquee names such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, leaving the company free to focus on the operation of its much more profitable broadcast holdings.
Tribune owns 23 television stations, iconic AM clear station WGN-AM Chicago and the WGN basic cable channel.
The company was bought by real estate magnate Sam Zell in 2007, just as the media business was getting slammed by events including the financial meltdown during Fall 2008. Zell brought in radio executive Randy Michaels to revamp the business culture of the company, but it did little or nothing to halt the inexorable slide of the newspaper business.
At one time, the Los Angeles Times was believed to be worth $2B all by itself – now the entire newspaper group is priced at about $625M. By contrast, the company’s broadcast holdings are valued at about $2.9B,