Monday, October 23, 2006

Tribune Company on the block

This is an update, I guess, of the media fragmentation round-up I did over the weekend -- it is being reported today that Tribune Company (owners of the Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Hartford Courant, Newsday, and a bunch of other papers, as well as a slew of TV stations*) is taking bids.

Tribune ... has asked bidders to submit nonbinding indications of interest by the end of the month ...

So far, three contenders have emerged: one group consisting of Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, and Apollo Management; a second group consisting of Thomas H. Lee Partners and Texas Pacific Group; and Carlyle Group. It is unclear whether the latter will bid alone or join a consortium of buyers.

It's interesting that it is private equity firms, not media companies, lining up. Though I know little about investing (take a look at my portfolio if you doubt me), this seems to indicate that people might think the company could be worth more broken up, and therefore they'll buy it and sell off the pieces. Newspapers and TV stations, for all their pain these days, are still very profitable enterprises -- operating them as cash cows could work very nicely.

It will be interesting to see.

*Note: They also own the Chicago Cubs, but they'd rather not be reminded of that.


Anonymous said...

Denver Post is not a Tribune paper.

Bob Houk said...

Thanks -- my bad. I've corrected the error.