Main | Monday, December 08, 2008

Print Media Death Watch

First we hear that the New York Times has mortgaged their brand new midtown skyscraper and may have to sell it, and now comes word that the Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy.
The company that owns the Los Angeles Times, KTLA Channel 5 and the Chicago Tribune filed for bankruptcy protection today, seeking relief from $12 billion in debt that largely stems from last year's leveraged buyout of the media firm. Tribune Co. directors approved the action to seek Chapter 11 protection in a meeting today, saying they want to restructure payments to banks and other creditors, following real estate magnate Sam Zell's purchase of the company last year. "

A precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy have coupled with a credit crisis, making it extremely difficult to support our debt," Zell said in a statement to employees just before 11 a.m. Pacific time. "All of our major advertising categories have been dramatically impacted." The Chicago-based company had roughly $300 million cash on hand, more than enough to make a $70-million payment due today. But executives reportedly were unable to persuade lenders to undertake a broader restructuring of the debt. Among other obligations, a $512-million principal payment related to Zell's leveraged buyout is due in June.
Tribune also owns the Chicago Cubs, which is not part of the bankruptcy filing as the team's sale is almost completed.

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