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Tribune exits bankruptcy with new TV-focused board

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm •  Published: December 31, 2012

The emerging Tribune is estimated to be worth about $4.5 billion, with television assets generating most of its value. Newspapers — seen as accounting for less than 15 percent of its value today — are expected to be sold off in a process that will likely see several bidders.

"Tribune is the poster child for the demise of the metropolitan newspaper," said Ken Doctor, a newspaper industry analyst with Outsell Inc. "Tribune remains a media company but likely drops the part of media that gave it its name and its birth, which is its newspapers."

Doctor says he expects that the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune could be sold for around $600 million to $700 million. Interested bidders include News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch, Freedom Communications owner Aaron Kusher, who bought the Orange County Register this summer, and Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who invested in The New York Times Co., Doctor said.

As part of the restructuring, 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 pay for its ongoing operations.

CEO Eddy Hartenstein said Monday that 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." He noted that the company's restructuring ensures that Tribune's subsidiary creditors and vendors receive payment "in full-100 percent recovery of what they are owed."

Hartenstein will remain at the helm for the next several weeks until the new board meets to designate executive officers.