U.S. media conglomerate Tribune Co. said Wednesday it planned to spin off its publishing business, which includes the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, into a company separate from its more profitable broadcast television holdings.
Those flagship dailies will be moved to a new entity known as the Tribune Publishing Company, which also will include six other newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, The Morning Call and Daily Press.
The move is part of Tribune's plan to focus on its more lucrative broadcast assets, a strategy it made clear last week by announcing an agreement to purchase 19 television stations from Local TV Holdings LLC for $2.73 billion in cash.
The acquisition of those new stations, located in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Cleveland, Denver and Seattle, will leave Tribune with 42 stations nationwide and make it one of the United States' largest broadcast groups.
That deal was announced just months after Tribune completed a four-year-long restructuring under bankruptcy protection.
In a statement about the asset spin-off, Peter Liguori, Tribune's president and CEO, said it was key to Tribune's long-term strategy.
"Moving to separate our publishing and broadcasting assets into two distinct companies will bring single-minded attention to the journalistic standards, advertising partnerships and digital prospects of our iconic newspapers, while also enabling us to take advantage of the operational and strategic opportunities created by the significant scale we are building in broadcasting," he said.
The spin-off plan means Tribune is setting aside the option of selling its publishing business, a possibility that had been harshly criticized after billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch - who are major contributors to conservative causes and politicians - were revealed as potential buyers. EFE