Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Media Tidbits

No decision on auction of Tribune Los Angeles Times
CHICAGO — Tribune Co. directors met Tuesday with no resolution of the company's months-long auction. The lack of acceptable buyout offers appeared to be pushing the company toward a recapitalization without outside investors, according to several people familiar with the process. Such a transaction, they said, probably would involve borrowing heavily to pay shareholders a large dividend and spinning off Tribune's TV broadcasting division.

New York Times is the Paper of the Web New York Observer
And even as the American newspaper industry is preparing for the day the Internet kills it off, The Times has made itself into the dominant newspaper on the Web. It has gotten there by trial and error—and the trials and the errors are both ongoing—but the basic premise has held: It is the paper, only without paper. Particularly, it’s the paper you would get if you didn’t have to wait for a new paper to be printed. Decades ago, some readers wouldn’t subscribe to newspapers because they preferred buying the fresher, final edition off the newsstand. Now the final—the newest final—comes up each time you click “reload.”

Zell And Satan Talk About Buying Tribune Company The Cub Reporter
Chicago real estate bigshot Sam Zell and international despot Rupert Murdoch were mentioned today in separate stories about the possible sale of Tribune Company. The piece in the Trib says Zell has not made a bid on the company but has entered into “preliminary” talks to see if a deal could be put in place, probably involving some sort of partnership between himself and the McCormick Tribune Foundation, which is run by current and former Tribune Company execs, including former Chairman John Madigan and current Chairman/CEO Dennis FitzSimons.

Online Newspapers Are Attracting More Paid Content
All forms of traditional media realize that survival depends on offering quality streaming video in order to retain and attract advertisers. Oddly enough, in the race to grab those ad dollars, newspaper websites are beating their broadcast TV counterparts, according to a new study from local media consultant Borrell Associates. Newspaper websites captured $81 million in locally spent streaming-video advertising, while local TV sites collected $32 million in ad spend last year.

Tribune Co. board still considering its options Chicago Tribune
One source close to the situation said a decision is not far off. But the company is still trying to resolve issues in what sources have described as an effort to spin off the company's television stations while taking on more debt to pay shareholders a special dividend or fund a share buyback.Tribune Co. has essentially rejected three proposals that emerged from a drawn-out auction process that began in late September--including an offer from its largest shareholder, California's Chandler family, which owns a 20 percent stake.Instead, the company has focused on trying to assemble its own restructuring deal. Tribune and its advisers have studied options such as the TV spinoff and a recapitalization of the newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.Among the options are taking the newspapers private, paying shareholders a big dividend and other strategies to deliver value such as buying back a large proportion of the outstanding shares.

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