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LA Times owner examining offers

22 Jan 2007


Tribune newspapers, the owner of the Los Angeles Times has confirmed that it is reviewing offers from prospective bidders, adding that it was looking at enhancing its valuation.

According to media speculation, the group has received three bid offers. Of these, two offers are said to be for the entire print and broadcasting business of the company and one from the Carlyle Group and two investors, just for its Tribune's 25 TV stations.

Chandler Trusts, the Tribune's biggest shareholder, that is controlled by the group's former owners, the Chandler family, is said to have made an offer valuing the publishing and broadcasting company at $7.6 billion. 

Two investors along with the Carlyle Group have also shown interest in acquiring its 25 TV stations, valued at $4 billion.

Tribune had launched a strategic review of its business last year, which could result in the sale of the entire company or its break-up. The Tribune group also owns, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant, TV stations and the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

US newspapers have been hit by falling sales and advertising revenues and publishers have not been able to react to classified advertising gradually migrating to the internet. Accordingly, analysts find the interest in the Tribune surprising. In the last three years Tribune has cut nearly 1,500 jobs.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the firm currently favours a strategy of funding a special dividend by taking on a substantial amount of debt. The newspaper also said the firm was looking into whether to spin off or sell its broadcasting assets and even taking the firm private.

However, the management has said it would make an announcement about its future some time during the first three months of 2007.

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