From the L.A. Times to the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and the Hartford Courant — these are just a few of the handful of newspapers owned by Tribune, now up for auction.
Gabriel Kahn, a USC professor and former L.A. bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, says he’s not surprised.
“I think that when the company emerged from bankruptcy, this was always thought to be the plan,” Kahn says.
Tribune emerged from Chapter 11 protection on December 31st.
Six weeks ago, TV industry veteran Peter Liguouri was hired, and today, news that Tribune is considering the sale of its newspaper unit surfaced.
“Managing a metro newspaper currently is a very difficult road to travel. They’ve been shrinking in profitability or falling in to the red,” Kahn says.
According to a statement released by Tribune spokesman, Gary Weitman, “There is a lot of interest in our newspapers, which we haven’t solicited.”
Potential suitors for the papers include News Corporation and Aaron Kushner, who owns a group of newspapers that include the Orange County Register.
“Newscorp, they are very experienced at managing newspapers,” Khan said.
“They own papers on three continents, and there’s a real benefit a real financial benefit and benefit to the newspaper to be part of that big broader chain.”
Ligouri told the L.A. Times last month that he had not ruled out a sale of the company’s newspaper brands, but added that he wasn’t going into this job with a fire-sale sign.
KTLA is one of 24 stations owned by Tribune, but as of now, there is no indication that Tribune plans to sell any of its television stations.
–Liberte Chan, KTLA News