Tribune Company Emerges From Chapter 11
After four years, the Tribune Company, whose holdings include The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune along with nearly two dozen television stations and other media assets, has emerged from bankruptcy protection, the company announced Monday.
The company’s reorganization plan was approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware in July and had awaited final approvals from the Federal Communications Commission, which it received in November.
The announcement marks the end of a prolonged process for a company whose assets have been tied up in court proceedings while the media industry has undergone a major transformation to digital. In a letter to employees, Eddy Hartenstein, the company’s chief executive, acknowledged that the past four years “have been a challenging period.”
“You have been resilient, dedicated to serving the company, our customers and your fellow employees,” he told the staff. ”You are what sets Tribune apart from our competitors.”
The company also announced a seven-member board. The directors include Mr. Hartenstein along with Peter Liguori, a former chief operating officer of Discovery Communications, who is expected to be named chief executive. Bruce Karsh, a founder of Oaktree Capital Management, which is a major shareholder in the company, also sits on the board, as well as Ross Levinsohn, the former interim chief at Yahoo. The company said it expected to resolve details about board members’ responsibilities at its first meeting in the next few weeks.
The company is emerging from bankruptcy protection with a $ 300 million loan to finance what the company described as its “ongoing operations” as well as a $ 1.1 billion loan to fund payments for its reorganization.
The end of the bankruptcy opens the company’s assets up to potential sale. Rupert Murdoch and David Geffen are among those who have expressed interest in buying some of Tribune’s newspapers.