Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 1:34am
EXTRA! ARE TRIBUNE'S PARTS EXTRA?
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, AUTHOR: Joseph T. Hallinan email@example.com]
With speculation mounting that Tribune could be the newspaper industry's next takeover play, the media company faces increasing pressure to do something. Tribune's stock price has slumped to multiyear lows, Wall Street analysts have slapped the company with rare "sell" ratings, and the company's strategy of corralling advertisers by owning newspapers and television stations in the same markets seems to have flopped. Tribune's two primary businesses -- newspapers and TV stations -- are concentrated in big-city markets that have taken a pounding from competitors. Its TV stations, such as KTLA in Los Angeles, have lost viewers, and its newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, have lost readers and advertising, largely to the Internet. Selling the Cubs is tempting. (Say it ain't so, Joe!) While the club hasn't won a World Series since 1908, its legendary Wrigley Field home is packed for most games. Estimates put the team's value at around $500 million. Tribune bought the Cubs in 1981 for $21 million. Other healthy investments include Tribune's 31% interest in the TV Food Network, a 24-hour television network focusing on food and entertaining, and a one-third stake in CareerBuilder, the online recruitment company. (CareerBuilder's other two stakeholders are Gannett Co. and Knight Ridder Inc., the nation's top two newspaper publishers, respectively, each also with a one-third stake.)
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