Monday, July 16, 2012

Tribune Co. Bankruptcy Ordeal Ends: Whither Chicago Trib & LA Times?

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 07: A Chicago and a NATO fl... (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)It took three-and-a-half years and generated roughly $400 million in attorneys' fees, but Delaware U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Carey last Friday signed off on the restructuring agreement that will enable the Tribune Co. to emerge from Chapter 11 insolvency (In re Tribune Co., Case No. 08-bk-13141), according to an article in the Hollywood Reporter.

The Tribune Co., which last year unloaded the NL Central Division cellar-dwelling Chicago Cubs (see "TUOL" posts 11/1/11, 3/29/10), is expected to divest itself of ownership of its newspaper division, which includes The Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times. The Chicago-based media conglomerate's holdings, valued at an estimated $7 billion, include 23 television stations, such as WPIX in New York City and WGN in Chicago, nine dailies and several magazines.

Billionaire entrepreneur Sam Zell used a $13 billion leveraged buyout to acquire the Tribune Co., which entered bankruptcy in 2008. Senior creditors are the new owners, among them, Oaktree Capital Mgt., Angelo, Gordon & Co., and JP Morgan Chase & Co. (which in recent weeks has shown us how easy it is to lose $5.8 billion). The new dream team will need the FCC's blessings to transfer ownership of the entity's radio and television licenses.

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