In a move it is calling a success, Tribune Co. has agreed to sell its two smallest papers by circulation, the Greenwich Time and The Advocate of Stamford, to Gannett for $73 million. The two papers have combined circulation of just $39,000 but are in a premium advertising market and are considered a natural fit with Gannett's Westchester and Rockland operations. According to Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons, "We have exceeded our goal of selling $500 million in non-core assets as part of the performance improvement plan we launched in 2006." Tribune's future has been uncertain since the company announced plans to sell itself to the highest bidder in late 2006. But with bidders not as forthcoming as Tribune would have liked, the company has been forced to sell off its less desirable assets piecemeal rather than selling the company as a whole. Once the takeover is complete, Gannett plans on streamlining the operations with its other Tristate area operations to cut costs.
Sources: Press Release, Business Week, MarketWatch, Reuters
Commentary: WSJ: Tribune Co. Now Leaning Away From Selling Itself • Tribune Mulls Offer from Sam Zell • L.A. Times Editor Spells Out Its Troubles
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Tribune Co. (TRB), Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI). Competitors: The New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT), The Washington Post Co. (WPO), The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI)
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