New ownership as Tribune Co. leaves bankruptcy behind

December 31, 2012 7:06:55 AM PST
A new era begins Monday for the Tribune Company as it emerges after more than four years of bankruptcy.

The reorganized media company begins Monday with new ownership, the senior creditors and a new board of directors.

The Tribune company sought bankruptcy protection in 2008, less than a year after billionaire developer Sam Zell led an $8 billion leveraged buyout that left the company with $13 billion in debt.

Experts expect the company will break-up portions of its broadcast and print outlets.

The new ownership includes senior creditors Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon and Co., and JPMorgan Chase and Co.

Tribune closed on a new, $1.1 billion senior secured term loan and a $300 million revolving credit line. The loan will fund payments required under the reorganization plan, and the credit line will fund ongoing operations.

The company also will issue about 100 million shares of class A and class B stock to former creditors, along with warrants to buy the shares. Class B shareholders will have limited voting rights and will not be able to vote for directors.

The new board of directors includes Bruce Karsh, Ken Liang, Peter Murphy, Ross Levinsohn, Craig A. Jacobson, Peter Liguori, and Eddy Hartenstein.

"Tribune emerges from the bankruptcy process as a multimedia company with a great mix of profitable assets, strong brands in major markets and a much-improved capital structure," said Hartenstein, Tribune's chief executive officer.

The Chicago Tribune reported late Sunday that Liguori, a former TV executive at Discovery and Fox, is expected to be named chief executive of the reorganized Tribune Co.

Tribune, which was founded in 1847, publishes some of the best-known newspapers in the United States, including the Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune. It also owns WGN in Chicago and 22 other television stations, as well as the WGN radio station.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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