HEARD ON THE STREET: Did Tribune Blow Its Deadline? and Tribune to Weigh Offers for Parts Of Its Holdings [Wall Street Journal]
Summary: In what is shaping up to be a far more complicated endeavor than first thought, traditional media giant Tribune Company is having trouble auctioning off its shares at a profit. Tribune bull, Barry Lucas, senior vice president at Gabelli & Co. Research, admits that, "this is not the easiest environment to sell what's charitably called 'legacy media assets.'" When Tribune's largest shareholder, the Chandler Family, agitated for a sale earlier this year, they believed the company - owner of well-known names like The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, NY Newsday, the Chicago Cubs and several TV stations - would fetch between $42 and $46 a share. Now it appears shareholders will receive no more than between $32 and $33 a share (the company currently trades for $32 and change). The company's attempted, and as of yet, unsuccessful sale is turning out to be a test case for other traditional media companies who may be considering going down the same path in the near future. While there have been suggestions Tribune Co. break up its empire, the assumption being the individual parts are worth more separately than together, the ensuing result would be exorbitant taxes. That combined with debt would mean when all was said and done, Tribune would be worth just $17 a share. In the meantime, falling revenue and profits, as well as a loss of advertising sales and circulation to the internet, means the pressure remains for Tribune to figure out some way to preserve its value before it's too late.
Related links: Tribune Q3 2006 Earnings Call Transcript • Scary Times for Newspapers: Sharpest Circulation Drop in 15 Years • Newspapers: Another Slide Coming? • Barron's Buries the Lede on Newspaper Stocks • Tribune Group Discusses its Internet Businesses and Online Job Site CareerBuilder (TRB, MNST, GCI, KRI) • Declining Print Ad Revenues Take Toll on Newspaper Earnings • Report: Tribune considering breakup after low bids [Orlando Business Journal]
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Tribune Company (TRB), The Washington Post Co. (WPO), Gannett Co. (GCI), the New York Time Company (NYT), The McClatchy Company (MNI)
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