Just two weeks before the deadline for final bids for Tribune Co., The McCormick Tribune Foundation, which controls 13% of the company, disclosed it had hired a financial adviser, a sign it could either be positioning itself to support or reject a management buyout of the company. Tribune Co. put itself up for bidding in September but has received scant interest thus far. If the auction process ends without a buyer willing to pay a reasonable amount for Tribune, the company's management could buy back some of the company's shares and pay out a dividend. The McCormick Tribune Foundation, which is currently Tribune Co.'s second largest shareholder, would have to determine whether to sell its shares to Tribune management. Bear Stearns analyst Alexia Quadrani believes The Foundation's hiring an outside financial adviser is a "vote of no confidence in current Tribune management."
• Sources: Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Bloomberg
• Related commentary: Low-Balled in Its Bid to Sell, Tribune Company Ponders Its Options, Tribune Could Be Bought Out By Two LA Billionaires, Fewer Newspapers With Lower Circulation Is the Way of the Future. Conference call transcripts: Tribune Q3 2006 Earnings Call Transcript
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Tribune Co. (TRB). Competitors: The New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT), Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI), The Washington Post Co. (WPO), The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI)
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